Saxophonist Dave McMurray’s second album for Blue Note Records is a jazz tribute to the Grateful Dead.
On the new recording Grateful Deadication, McMurray reimagines the songs of the iconic California rock band in his gritty, soulful Detroit sound.
The album, coming July 16, follows McMurray’s performance with Don Was at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. It featured a surprise appearance by Gradeful Dead co-founder Bob Weir, who had recently enlisted Was for his new band Wolf Bros.
“My Grateful Dead adventure began a few years ago when I was lucky enough to play a show with the Wolf Bros,” McMurray recalls. “The long-form, odd measures and complex chords of the music hooked me immediately. I noticed the songs had great melodies yet held the openness of Miles Davis’ electric period. The music was catchy, psychedelic, raw, with the idea that nobody solos/everybody solos — akin to Weather Report. The more I listened, the more I knew these songs would eventually become a vehicle for my jazz expression.”
McMurray first announced Grateful Deadication last month with a music video for the song Loser, which features Weir alongside star blues vocalist Bettye LaVette and Weir’s Wolf Bros bandmates Was, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti and Greg Leisz.