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Monday, December 31, 2012

After Midnight: JGMS, November 3, 1973, Keystone, Berkeley

I just call this After Midnight. Tremendous.

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
2119 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
November 3, 1973 (Saturday)
123 minute soundboard

--Set I (7 tracks, 83:05)--
s1t01. ... After Midnight [7:26] (1) [2:48]
s1t02. Expressway (To Your Heart) [10:59] ->
s1t03. collective improvisation [15:50] ->
s1t04. transition to Merl's Tune [2:13] ->
s1t05. Merl's Tune [7:58] [2:34]
s1t06. Someday Baby [16:19] [1:55]
s1t07. I Second That Emotion [14:50] (2) [0:11] %

--Set II (2 tracks, 39:51, incomplete)--
s2t01. .. Mystery Train [10:01] [0:15]
s2t02. My Funny Valentine [29:05] (3)

! Band: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! Lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! Lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! Lineup: Bill Vitt - drums;
! Lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone, flute.

! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! TJS:
! db: none as of 12/31/2012. shnid-123279 (this fileset).
! map:
! metadata: The show seems originally to have been booked, and was billed, as Old And In The Way . It was listed that way in "Scenedrome," Berkeley Barb, November 2-8, 1973, p. 17 and Hayward Daily Review, October 26, 1973, p. 34, as well as on a Keystone handbill. However, the Staska-Mangrum column from 11/2 listed it as JGMS (Staska, Kathie, and George Mangrum. 1973. Rock talk from KG: Country song goes to town. Hayward Daily Review, November 2, 1973, p. 44), and the tape is, plainly, JGMS. Of course, the next night would feature the last complete OAITW show, and it only occurred as late as November 4th because of a rainout at Sonoma State on the initial date of October 7th.
! R: the recording information I report is pieced together from available information, and may not be definitive.
! R: analog source tapes 1) Betty Cantor Jackson’s 10" master soundboard reel [MSR] @ 7.5ips 1/2 trk (Nagra IV-S, uncertain tape stock) (3rd Betty Batch, tape #53, 11/3/73 reel #1, set I, 83 minutes); 2) Betty Cantor Jackson’s 10" MSR @ 7.5ips 1/2 trk (Nagra IV-S, uncertain tape stock) (3rd Betty Batch, tape #36, 11/3/73 reel #2, end of show; first part of reel blank).
! R: Analog to digital transfer by RE, winter 1996: Otari 50/50 reel to reel > Apogee 500 A/D converter > Panasonic SV3700 DAT @ 16 bits, 48 kHz. The story of these tapes was written up in the late 2012 New Yorker article (Paumgarten 2012).
! R: subsequent: uncertain DAT > WAV > CD > EAC (extraction) > CDWave (tracking) > TLH (flac8 encoding) > foobar2000 (tagging) by JGMF.
! R: This recording is nothing short of spectacular. It enters in the pocket and stays there. Betty Cantor-Jackson, thank you! Listeners: we are truly blessed to care about the music that Betty cared enough to record for us. It’s like Rudy van Gelder or something. We are truly lucky music fans. And thanks to whoever had the foresight to salvage these tapes, and to have RE, a Grammy-winning recording engineer, preserve them. Posterity thanks you.
! historical: So good to hear this show. As of this writing, the only Garcia/Saunders shows in circulation after the thoroughly-documented (and now completely officially released as Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings, Fantasy, 2012 [Allan | deaddisc]) July 10-11, 1973 Keystone shows are the fragment of the 9/5/73 Hell's Angels show, the complete Capitol Theatre (Passaic, NJ) show of September 6, 1973, and another Hell's Angels thing at Winterland on October 2, 1973. After that, it's all the way out to January 17-18-19, 1974. Hearing this November show is potentially really important in stitching together a musical analysis of the band's evolution.
! s1t01 (1) @ 7:58 JG: "Mr. P.A. man, turn up the monitors and the P.A. please, would ya? That is, could ya?"
! P: s1t02 The jam portion of Expressway is very, very nice.
! setlist: s1t02-s1t05: I had a real bear of a time deciding how to track the 40-minute continuous piece of music between After Midnight and Someday Baby. It's pretty extraordinary! I used to prefer more markers to fewer, then I eased off of that for some years, and now I am feeling that they have great value. One way or another, we need good metadata on what was actually performed, and the timings of the various pieces. Future musicologists will thank us, or not. And with a jam like this, it's an exercise in false precision and linearity no matter how you slice it. This is how I slice it. I feel reasonably comfortable with s1t02 as Expressway. They leave the song structure, key, tempo, etc. at that point, which is when I drop in the "jam" track (something else that I have gotten away from). The "collective improvisation" covers lots of terrain. It even contains hints of the tune to follow, the Merl Saunders original "Merl's Tune". So, obviously, I split the baby with the tracking of Merl's Tune. What I do is just logically indefensible, not least since there are hints of Merl's tune all through the "jam". Merl's Tune has a pretty distinctive three-note start. Once Merl plays that and it "takes" (i.e., he doesn't wander away from it until Merl's Tune has definitely been played), I start the transition track. Then I track the song proper, well, when I think the song proper starts. Finally, though, they bail out of Merl's Tune before the end of the track I have made for it. So, if I were being consistent, I'd probably track this out, too. I am not being consistent.
! Personnel: the personnel identified is per the tape box as noted by RE.
! setlist: the start of the second reel was blank, and we clearly have an end of show announcement (see note (3), below). So we appear to be missing the start of set II.
! R: s1t01 After Midnight very low amplitude, lots of mix and level fluctuations, first minute and a half or so.
! P: s1t03 neat little jam JG descending at 3:44, GDish ... @ 4:00 Martin jumps in with a descending, decaying run of five notes, and then a more melodic, higher, quicker five-note melody that he copped from somewhere. Garcia starts vamping a little bit, and things really swing for a nice little 90 second thing, check it out around 4:45. Martin doing some very distinctive lines @ 5:10, really smooth (quoted again @ 5:30 ... Garcia playing very structured melody. If this were the GD, this jam would have gone somewhere, I hate to say it. Then Jerry is articulating some long sentences toward the late 7- and early 8-minute range. Again, late in the 8-min mark, with some very distinctive clusters of notes, definitely saying something. Starts bending @ 9:19 .. mmmm ...
! P: s1t03 John Kahn locks in on the three-note opening bass line of "Merl's Tune" for awhile @ 9:30
! P: s1t03 @ 10:15 Martin is playing his After Midnight thing. John joins him and so does Jerry. Merl is doing the MT line at 10:44 but since he abandons it for awhile again I don't start tracking it here. For a few minutes, if you started playing this at any point here and forced me to say what song it is, I think I'd say After Midnight. Jerry is strumming his After Midnight strum. John could be repetitively doing his After Midnight bass line toward the end of this segment, too. I guess these are their Merl's Tune lines? Maybe it's just that Merl's Tune has a melodic structure that sounds (to me) a little like After Midnight.
! P s1t03 Martin some copped CTI-type line @ 10:54, 11 ish. @ 14:00-ish one could almost imagine "Eleanor Rigby" emerging, or maybe that's just an echo from the future.
! P: s1t03 this jam is @@ extraordinary. This may be one of the finest pieces of Garcia-Saunders jamming on tape.
! s1t05 “Merl's Tune” is a neat composition. It has the voodoo bite of lots of Merl Saunders's tunes, but also has a little swing break that puts me in mind of a carnival whirlicue, a spinning thing.
!P:  s1t05 MT Merl switches @ 1:59 to an electric piano or clavichord kind of sound, back to organ @ 2:14. Martin comes in on flute @ 2:13.  @ 2:42 Garcia enters a descending Grateful Dead kind of space ... descending 8-note lines ... absolutely gorgeous. Some beautiful, fragile, melodic stuff. This is a @@ beautiful jam. Then Martin comes in cheek-squealing and spitting and farting, and the moment passes. Martin hits a familiar lick @ 3:38. By about 4:45 they return do a dark space pretty well unmoored from the song. @ 5:15 JG does some mournful whale-wailing that's too brief.
! s1t07 (2) JG: "We're gonna take a break for a little while. We'll be back in a few minutes. Thank you."
! setlist: s2t01 has traditionally been listed as "That's Alright Mama", but it's actually Mystery Train.
! R: s2t01 Mystery Train enters in progress.
! s2t02 (3) JG: "Well, it's closin' time in Berkeley, everybody. Thanks a lot for comin' by and all that."
! s2t02 after the show-closing announcement, Garcia strums After Midnight. Funny. As I heard in the long set I jam, "After Midnight" permeates this show, thematically. And since the announcement probably came sometime near or after 2 a.m., that chord might just be a musical accompaniment to the announcement. "After Midnight", indeed. If I were bootlegging this, that's what I'd call it. How original.
! Thanks to all involved in making and preserving this music.
! URL:

1 comment:

  1. A stellar After Midnight>Eleanor Rigby>After Midnight (reprise)


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