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scar1et_f1re
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How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94057 2 years, 4 months ago
I've heard people say more than once that Jeff is the best keyboard player to ever play with Bobby and Phil. I am not sure I agree that Jeff is better (or not as good as) Tom, Keith, Pig, Brent, Bruce or Vince, but he has his own style that I really enjoy.

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Here's one person's take. His comments on Garcia's consistency are interesting. I don't agree with all of his opinions. But I do respect what he has to say.

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andrewjshields.blogspot.com/2011/08/furt...d-grateful-dead.html

Thursday, August 04, 2011
Furthur and The Grateful Dead
Furthur is the current band of the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, with John Kadlecik on lead guitar, Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, Joe Russo on drums, and Jeff Pehrson and Sunshine Garcia Becker on backing vocals. The band has played over 100 shows since their first gig in September 2009, and though I have not had a chance to hear them live (since I live in Switzerland and they have not been in Europe yet, and I always miss them by days when I'm in the U.S.), I have listened to recordings of all their shows, thanks to the Live Music Archive and Furthur's own live downloads. Gradually, despite my being a veteran Deadhead (83 shows from 1982-1995), I have come to the conclusion (with a couple of caveats) that Furthur is a better band than the Grateful Dead.

The primary reason is Jeff Chimenti on keyboards. Chimenti's background is primarily in jazz, and he has played with Bob Weir's band Ratdog since the late 1990s, as well as being on keyboards with the various incarnations of The Dead (as the surviving members of the Grateful Dead—Weir, Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann—called themselves in 1003-4 and 2008-9). Simply put, Chimenti is a much better player than any of the Grateful Dead's keyboard players. None of them (Pigpen, Tom Constanten, Keith Godchaux, Brent Mydland, Vince Welnick, or even Bruce Hornsby, whose tenure on piano with the GD was brief but wonderful) ever had the chops to provide a serious second lead instrument alongside Jerry Garcia's leads—and that is exactly what Chimenti adds to the mix. While Garcia always rightly insisted that his lead playing was just part of what the band was doing, the sound of Furthur benefits hugely from Chimenti's leads, both as a compliment to Kadlicek's lead guitar and in how his keyboard solos (whether on piano or organ) take the band's jams in ever new directions.

Drummer Joe Russo is also a better drummer than Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann ever were. I always liked the lightness of Hart and Kreutzmann's playing together, the way they kept the band afloat by never overemphasizing the beat but always playing colors and textures around it. When they started playing the beat more heavily in the late 80s, it detracted from the band's feel to my ears (although this might have been a matter of mixing the snare drum higher, in good 80s style, à la Phil Collins). Russo plays the beat with emphasis and drive, while also keeping the rhythm floating. Both Chimenti and Russo's potent contributions to Furthur can be heard in exemplary fashion in the first set of the July 22 show at the Gathering of the Vibes festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut, especially on "Sugaree," "Deal," and "Big River." (That just happens to be the show I listened to this morning.)

Furthur's quality also derives from the vocal arrangements. The backup singers and the band's obvious serious rehearsal of the vocals give Furthur something the Grateful Dead never had: consistent high-quality harmonies. I love the old recordings of "Uncle John's Band," say, as much as any Deadhead, but Furthur just nails the vocals all the time, while with the Grateful Dead, the vocals were always hit and miss at best. While listening to the Bridgeport "Sugaree" and "Deal," it struck me that, in this respect, Furthur is more like the Jerry Garcia Band in the 80s and 90s, with his excellent background singers. (I even hope that Lesh and Weir will give their backup singers a chance to step forward and sing lead ...)

So Furthur is a better band than the Grateful Dead—but of course, they owe everything to the Grateful Dead. Weir and Lesh are still playing their Grateful Dead repertoire, most of which (despite excellent contributions from Weir and Lesh) was written by Garcia. They should, of course: it's a great catalogue! There are a couple of Furthur originals, and one or two get played per show, but it would be a waste if Weir and Lesh played together without playing their back catalogue together, and as with the Grateful Dead, they play almost the whole catalogue, with no repeats from one show to the next.

Now it's time to discuss the elephant in the room: Jerry Garcia. Overall, Furthur is a better group of musicians than the Grateful Dead, but Furthur doesn't have a Garcia, who was simply one of the best musicians in rock history (and even beyond rock, as his work with David Grisman shows). Yet Garcia was not always at his best, and John Kadlecik is much more consistent than Garcia was in the last few years of his life. Like Chimenti, Kadlecik also has great jazz chops. Early in my listening to Furthur, I kept hearing traces of John Abercrombie in Kadlecik's playing, which turned out to be a matter of the wrong John: Kadlecik's primary early influence (even before he began listening to the Grateful Dead and Garcia)was John McLaughlin. As the lead player in the Dead cover band The Dark Star Orchestra for over a decade, Kadlecik knows how to "be" Garcia; interestingly, Furthur gives him a chance to play Garcia's music while being himself.

So the two caveats on my claim are that Furthur doesn't have Garcia, and that Furthur plays Grateful Dead music and is thus implicitly "derivative." But my argument is finally that Furthur does take the Grateful Dead's music "further," primarily but not only because of the unique contributions of Chimenti and Russo to the band's sound.

A while back, I read a comment on a Furthur show at the Live Music Archive that pointed out that in 20 years, when Furthur is long gone, Deadheads will be listening to the Grateful Dead and not to Furthur. Because of Garcia, that's probably true, even for this Furthur fan, but my response is also that the Grateful Dead's run ended in 1995, and Furthur is happening now. I hope I get a chance to hear them live before they stop happening.
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ecojaded
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"Why don't you arrest me"

Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94059 2 years, 4 months ago
Love Jeff !!!

As he can attest, I went balistic during some of his extended jams here in the midwest. I am a keys fiend so...
She tries to live by the golden rule.
Said you treat other people right,
Other people probably treat you cool.
GreatestStoryEverTold
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Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94061 2 years, 4 months ago
Jeff is an amazing keyboard player but doesn't live in the limelight. He really lives the life of a mystical key player, there is not much info on him on the internet and I don't think he even has a website.
FurthurFlower67
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Good Love!

Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94092 2 years, 4 months ago
If I had to pick my favorite in Furthur it would be Jeff, but just by a hair. I LOVE Bobby, Phil, John, Joe, Jeff P, and Sunshine! But Jeff really shines thru the music! I really connect with him more so anyone else in the band. His playing speaks to me! I love it so much! Thank you Jeff for all the wonderful sounds!

And I understand him not wanting to live in the limelight, but we do need more info on Jeff! I can't get enough!!
Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
unclebobo
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Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94096 2 years, 4 months ago
He's overrated. My ho think he's hot. She can have him.
rojimmy1968
Visitor

Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94103 2 years, 4 months ago
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Furthur better than the Grateful Dead?????

OMFG!!!

Ya.......m'k
scar1et_f1re
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Posts:4898
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Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94110 2 years, 4 months ago
rojimmy1968 wrote:
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Furthur better than the Grateful Dead?????

OMFG!!!

Ya.......m'k


No more ridiculous than what I think of your opinion of Bobby from the other thread. Think of a world without Sugar Mag, Playing in the band, looks like rain, Black Throated Wind, Cassidy..........

I personally prefer the futhur scene to the GD scene. With the GD scene it got a bit too large which caused trouble with so many followers. Now it feels like the fans are back in power and most if not all the good stuff is still around.

And notice I did not say I prefer furthur musically. I enjoy the music of both bands which is what is important for me. Still plenty of kind fans and it is still a lot of fun and the center of my life. I certainly cannot put the music down.

~Furthurcize - 4 Life
FFF! Family is Forever!!!

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
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And let others do for you
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rojimmy1968
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Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94115 2 years, 4 months ago
Ya, its wayyyyy to hit or miss with Bob. Some days ya get the Other-One Bob....but most the time its the Corrina Bob.

Plus its the songs that are great....not his performing them. Hunter is a great song writer but him performace of them makes me cringe.
rojimmy1968
Visitor

Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94116 2 years, 4 months ago
And I'm sorry.....to say that Furthur is better than the GD is off the charts fucking stooooooopid!!!
scar1et_f1re
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Re: How come there is not much talk about Jeff on keys

#94128 2 years, 4 months ago
rojimmy1968 wrote:
Ya, its wayyyyy to hit or miss with Bob. Some days ya get the Other-One Bob....but most the time its the Corrina Bob.

Plus its the songs that are great....not his performing them. Hunter is a great song writer but him performace of them makes me cringe.


I hear ya, they are clearly washed up, thanks for opening out eyes to the correct way the world really is. I thought I liked Bobby, a lot. But all he is capable of is Corrina Bob. And that Victim of the crime. Good thing you took time out of your busy schedule to edumicate all of us losers here - some of which actually enjoy listening to furthur. Too bad there aren't more smart people like you around dude.

I hope I never have to suffer though another Lost Sailor or Saint of Circumstances. And the MSG show I saw where they opened with Sugar mag and then went full circle with it later in the night. The nerve of them trying to feed us that crap.

Again, thanks for letting your wisdom shine so brightly. And to think, you got so smart in only 43 short years.

Where you going next, to curse out the kids on the seasame street chat board? How bout telling some kids that Santa Clause may not be real. That should put a real smile on your face.

Oh and I saw an episode of southpark about you and your buddies recently. About how normal people all of a sudden turn into miserable pricks. It really happens. Just look in the mirror if you don't believe me. And let me know if you want me to send you a link to the episode.


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FFF! Family is Forever!!!

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
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