• Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales


    December 01, 1971

    Douglas 5


  1. South Side Strut
  2. A Trip To What Next
  3. Up From The Desert
  4. DC 502
  5. One A.M. Approach
  6. Uncle Martin's
  7. Da Birg Song

  • Howard Wales (piano, organ)
  • Jerry Garcia (guitar)
  • John Kahn (bass)
  • Curly Cook (rhythm guitar)
  • Bill Vitt (drums)
  • Michael Marinelli (drums)
  • Ken Balzall (trumpet)
  • Martin Fierro (saxophone, flute)

(0) Additional Personnel

Album Notes

In an interview in 1991 Garcia, while discussing working with John Kahn over the years, commented on his time playing with Howard Wales:

“He [John Kahn] and I have been playing together since – we started working together for Howard Wales at a little club in San Francisco called the Matrix on Monday nights, right around ’68, ’69, somewhere around there. When the Grateful Dead isn’t working, I like to keep playing.

So they used to have this Monday night jam session, but Howard gradually sort of took it over. Howard’s this amazing organ player – difficult person, but wonderful musician. And for some reason he liked our playing, John and mine. We didn’t know each other, John and I. In fact we played with Howard for almost a year before we even actually started talking to each other. Really. We would just show up, plug in, and play. About half the set I’d be whispering to John, I’d be saying, ‘Hey, man, what key are we in?’ Howard didn’t have tunings or anything, he just played. Sometimes he would do these things that were so outside that you just couldn’t – unless you knew where it was going, you had no idea where to start. Sometimes they’d turn out to be just these things like four-bar blues turnarounds, relatively simple musical things, but they were so extended the way he’d play them – ‘God, what is this?

Anyway, I learned a lot – both of us learned a lot about staying awake and listening to what’s going on, playing with Howard. It was a real experience. We played with him for a couple of years, and then Howard went off and kinda – periodically he gets this thing of where he just can’t deal with the music world any more, and he just disappears. So we were there, stuck there, and we were supposed to play Monday night, and we didn’t have a player. John said, ‘Well, I just did some sessions with this guy Merl Saunders”.

For another interview he recalled: “Howard was so incredible, and we were just hanging on for dear life … playing with Howard did more for my ears than anybody I ever played with, because he was so extended and so different”.



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