David Sanborn and Jools Holland once had a television show called "Night Music" that typically juxtaposed two very different musicians with disparate styles. Sometimes the combinations landed with a thud and sometimes they soared, and you were never sure which you were going to get.
Here's a strange combination and a musical nugget you might never be aware of if you're not a deep fan of either: the Grateful Dead once performed a concert with Ornette Coleman, of all people, as a guest. My friend Terry alerted me to it. The concert took place at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on the 23rd of February, 1993, and you can listen to it on Archive. org. If you have a good tolerance for unconventional music or you're just an Ornette Coleman fan (did I just say the same thing twice?), Ornette joins the band on "Space," "The Other One," "Stella Blue" and "Turn On Your Lovelight" from the second set...although some of the other songs from that evening are pretty spacey too—"Drums" features didgeridoo zapping from one stereo channel to the other.
Ornette was repaying a favor—he had enlisted Jerry Garcia, a longtime fan of his, to play on his 1988 album Virgin Beauty. This was one of two concerts for which Ornette joined the band. The concert took place just two and a half years prior to Jerry's untimely demise, and Jerry's voice sounds worn and hoarse, sometimes struggling to stay in tune—it gives his performances a worldly, weary feeling with hints of ruin, like late Billie Holiday.
If you want a concert with guests that were easier to integrate, try this legendary 1970 show at Fillmore East with the Allman Brothers Band and Peter Green sitting in. (Ten life points if you know who Peter Green is.) Start with "Not Fade Away."
(Thanks to Terry)
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Featured Comments from:
R.A. Krajnyak: "I'll take Blues Guitarist Extraordinaire and Fleetwood Mac founder for 10 life points, Alex. B.B. King said of him, 'He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.'"
Rick D: " I remember 'Night Music'! My top two discoveries watching were John Hiatt and a Bulgarian wedding band (really!). We gathered our culture where we could."
Gordon Lewis: "I remember 'Night Music' well. One of my favorite pairings was Leonard Cohen singing 'Who By Fire' backed by Sonny Rollins on tenor sax and the Was Not Was singers on background vocals. It will give you goosebumps even in the summertime."
Mike replies: Yes, that one was sublime—