Jerry Garcia - All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

Jerry Garcia
All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

(Rhino)

Part Three: Reflections

First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9

Written by John Metzger

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Jerry Garcia - Reflections

Jerry Garcia
Reflections

(Rhino)

Jerry Garciaís third solo outing Reflections featured neither the avant-garde excursions of Garcia nor the wide-ranging eclecticism of Compliments, and in fact, it almost never came to fruition. Originally conceived as a means of showcasing the newly formed Jerry Garcia Band, the project nearly was derailed when legendary keyboard player Nicky Hopkins succumbed to a variety of ailments brought about by an addiction to drugs and alcohol. In the end, the album was salvaged when, in the midst of its self-imposed hiatus, the Grateful Dead joined Garcia in the studio, allowing him to complete the collection and turn what could have been a disaster into a rather happy accident. By utilizing sessions recorded with each of his ensembles, the famed guitarist was able to find the middle ground between the two disparate entities, thereby lending the effort a cohesive focus that made it an oft-overlooked, hidden gem within his solo canon.

Indeed, Reflections stands as one of the finest albums that the Grateful Dead or any of its many off-shoots ever released. Coupling a few well-chosen cover songs with several outstanding compositions penned with Robert Hunter, the album struck a bittersweet balance between light and dark, sun and rain, and hope and despair as it gracefully waltzed from the introspective ruminations of Mission in the Rain to the uplifting sentiments of Allen Toussaintís Iíll Take a Melody to the heartfelt musings on the importance of love expressed through Comes a Time. With each turn of phrase that he delivered as well as each note that he played, Garcia vulnerably bared his soul, casting a projection of images and emotions that appeared to pour straight from his heart. Like much of his material, he extracted the essence of gospel, blues, country, jazz, reggae, and folk and fused it with a rock ínĎ roll backbone in order to form his own playfully exuberant brand of Americana-tinged improvisational bliss.

From the driving beat of Mystery Train to the wistful tenderness of Oh Babe, It Ainít No Lie and from the breezy swing of All by Myself to a refurbished rendering of You Win Again, the bonus tracks that augment the recently remastered rendition of Reflections are all magnificent. However, the highlight undoubtedly is Orpheus, a mind-bending, jazz-fusion jam performed by the Grateful Dead that is closer in texture and tone to the material found on its Blues for Allah project. Combining percolating rhythms and streams of sinewy guitar, the ensemble unleashed a swirling sea of sound that mined the thematic cruces of Slipknot! and King Solomonís Marbles while plunging deeply into the psychedelically-induced mayhem of its live performances. starstarstarstar Ĺ

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This is the third installment of a six-part series, which will
examine
All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions album
by album. The entire set is rated:
starstarstarstar

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All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

Part One: Garcia

Part Two: Compliments

Part Four: Cats under the Stars

Part Five: Run for the Roses

Part Six: Outtakes, Jams, Alternates

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Reflections [Remastered & Expanded] is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions [Remastered & Expanded] is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box