In March 1990, the Grateful Dead teamed up with jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis for a concert at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum, where they jammed together for most of the set. One standout from that set is the group’s funky, 14-minute take on “Estimated Prophet,” the lead track on the Dead’s 1977 LP Terrapin Station, on which Marsalis goes note for note with each of the instrumentalists in the band, as well as Bob Weir’s husky vocals. That recording, which is getting its official premiere here, and the rest of the concert will be available as a three-disc box set, Wake Up to Find Out 3/29/90, on September 9th. That concert will also be available as part of a 23-disc Grateful Dead box, Spring 1990 (The Other One), that is coming out the same day and chronicles eight complete concerts from the group’s three-week 25th anniversary tour of North America. Pre-orders are now available on the Dead’s website.
“That 7/4 time [in ‘Estimated Prophet’] was not a big deal to a guy who plays jazz,” Marsalis recently told Rolling Stone. “Where jazz guys fuck up playing with pop and rock bands is they seem insulted by the simplicity. In the jazz guy’s world, there isn’t a song that exists that I can’t make better with my knowhow.”
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The bigger box set follows up the limited-edition 2012 box set Spring 1990, which has since sold out. The new box set is also a limited edition, but the group is also offering its 159 tracks, half of which are unique songs, as HD digital downloads on the release date. The box set edition includes a 144-page book, containing essays by archivist Nick Meriwether and Jerry Garcia biographer Blair Jackson, three art prints by Jessica Dessner, replica ticket stubs and backstage passes for all eight of the shows.
“When we produced the first Spring 1990 box in 2012, there were a lot of tough choices to make about what shows to omit from that box,” Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux said in a statement. “However, we knew we’d do this second box someday, so the choices of omission were easier to digest. Now we’re able to complete the picture the first box painted with music that’s every bit as good, and in some cases surpasses, the six shows in the original box. These are eight extremely high-level Dead shows, each and every one of which would make a terrific CD releases. It only seemed fitting that in the face of such an abundance of quality Dead, we should release it all at once.”
With the release of Spring 1990 (The Other One), the Dead’s entire spring 1990 tour has been officially released, complementing Spring 1990, Dozin’ at the Knick and Terrapin Limited. Other than the group’s 1972 tour of Europe, it is the only tour available in full.
Additional reporting by David Fricke