Uncut (magazine) - p.74
"Inspired, surprising and joyous, it shows that even at the end when struggling with addiction and illness, Garcia was capable of genius."
Personnel: Jerry Garcia (guitar); David Grisman (mandolin); Matt Eakle (flute); Jim Kerwin (bass); Joe Craven (percussion).
Recorded between December 6, 1990 and November 24, 1992. Includes liner notes by David Grisman, Bruce Hornsby and Ornette Coleman.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
Personnel: Jerry Garcia (guitar); David Grisman (mandolin); Matt Eakle (flute); Joe Craven (percussion).
Audio Mixer: David Dennison.
Liner Note Author: David Grisman.
Recording information: Dawg Studios (12/06/1990-11/24/1992).
Photographer: Alice Patterson.
This might seem like an unlikely duo to record a jazz album, but many forget that Garcia developed as an instrumentalist by playing "free" music with his Grateful Dead compatriots, for whom John Coltrane was as important an influence as Merle Haggard or Elmore James (Garcia even did some recording with Ornette, who is quoted in the liner notes here). Grisman, not unlike Garcia, has made a career of blending jazz with bluegrass, folk and other American musical traditions. It's no surprise then that the two did some studio jamming over classic Miles tunes, the unfinished but rewarding results of which are presented here.
To an extent, this is Grisman's show, as he takes the spotlight most often with his characteristic jazz mandolin work. Garcia is a sympathetic accompanist, though, demonstrating a deep understanding of the advanced chord substitutions that are central to jazz improvisation. SO WHAT provides an excellent view of Garcia's harmonic sophistication as captured toward the end of his long, varied career.