Grateful Dead: Refugees from Spaceports (1994)

When I compiled several mixes of 1994 Drumspace highlights a while back, I ended up with a couple hours of isolated passages that I didn’t include. 

I’ve been playing those outtakes lately, and these nine passages turn out to be great.  

36-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Orbital Stabilization (3/27/94)
  • Core Sample (9/28/94)
  • Ore Mine 1 (9/28/94)
  • Field Recording (3/6/94)
  • Malfunction (4/7/94)
  • Beneath the Surface (10/11/94)
  • Interplanetary Feud (3/6/94)
  • Space Ranch (3/4/94)
  • Ore Mine 2 (3/27/94)

Grateful Dead Shortlist: March 17, 1993 (Landover, MD)

There’s a gentle Garcia thread running through this show that I’ve concentrated into 50 minutes. He sings “Lazy River Road,” “Crazy Fingers,” and “Days Between” beautifully, and his guitar leads the band through several contemplative places. The dominant vibe is pretty, but melancholy, and the vocal mix makes it feel like an intimate communication.

This is the 6th from last “Dark Star.” Melodic before and after the verse, it mutates into deranged jazz. After Garcia exits, the rest of the band has a lot of fun with that for another 2.5 minutes.

Space features some beautiful minimalist improvisation, leading to an extremely chill, extended visit to “The Handsome Cabin Boy” – the band’s third and last. 

50-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Lazy River Road
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Dark Star > Jazz Jam
  • Space 1 (Other One “flute” solo) >
  • Space 2 (Getting Handsome) >
  • The Handsome Cabin Boy
  • Days Between
  • Eternity Jam

Edit notes:

  • "Eternity" has been edited to an instrumental. Seemed like the perfect bookend. Mood.
  • The very start of "Dark Star" was rocky (out of a short Playin' jam), but Vince played a decisive "all change" chord, and then everything was in order. It enabled a perfect fake segue from "Crazy Fingers."
  • The end of "Cabin Boy" and the beginning of "Days Between" likewise offered a credible segue. A slight band wobble is more noticeable than the splice. It's almost like this mix wanted to happen.
  • The Space > Space > Cabin Boy sequence is as-is from the source, but it feels like there are tiny gaps. Not intrusive to the listening experience, but annoying if you're me.

Grateful Dead: Mystery Jam #2

I find this lesser-known, very short “Dark Star” to be practically perfect in every way.

  • The band spends the first minute assembling the pieces dramatically, before the emergence of the groove. 
  • At 1:25, Garcia begins a chiseled, minimalist approach to his solo, which he picks up again once the verse is over. 
  • The band wraps itself crisply around Garcia’s series of perfect little ideas. The thrilling shift at 2:17 tells me they were really locked in.
  • At the four minute mark, Garcia surprises with a gorgeous new phrase that leads to the completion of the performance’s narrative arc. 

I edited out the verse, so the jam flows uninterrupted.

Miles Davis: Three from Brazil (1974)

This 45-minute mix compiles three beautiful, surprisingly chill and slinky performances from the Miles Davis band’s concerts in Brazil, in late May and early June of 1974.

At the time, the band’s lineup was a seasoned funk machine that played its songs in startlingly different ways on different nights. Much of the time, they were super-intense, loud, fast, and angular.

These three tracks find the band playing at the other end of the dynamic spectrum – exploring quieter, slower, opener spaces, painting detail on top of grooves that never let you go. The soloists stretch out into sustained, thoughtful, melodic exploration. The rhythm section makes small moves that have a large impact. And when the giant funk hits, it’s a genuine climax. 

45-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • For Dave (5/25/74, Rio) (14:34)
  • Unknown Original 740419 (6/2/74, São Paulo) (15:04)
  • Ife (5/28/74, São Paulo) (15:25)

Miles Davis: Tokyo ’73 Compressed

This mix presents an edited version of the Miles Davis band’s fantastic performance in Tokyo, on June 19th, 1973. The mix (for an FM broadcast) is possibly the best from 1973.

Though not officially released, the recording is widely available in bootleg form – which is one reason I decided to edit its 91 minutes down 25% to a more album-like experience, lasting 70 minutes. If you need the whole show, it’s out there. If you have never, or have not recently, melted your face with 1973 Miles, then this mix is the blowtorch you need.

Overall, I sought momentum, and a balance of tension and release, with every minute being a thrill. In pursuit of those things, I sequenced the edits in a different order than the set list. (However, if you loop the mix, the last song segues into the first one.) If you want to know more about the aesthetic considerations, see the notes below the tracklist.

Every composition played is included (except for a passing glance at “Right Off”), but all of them have been shortened in some way(s), with the exception of “Ife.” 


  • Miles Davis - trumpet, organ
  • Dave Liebman - tenor and soprano saxophones
  • Pete Cosey - guitar, percussion
  • Reggie Lucas - guitar
  • Michael Henderson - electric bass guitar
  • James "Mtume" Heath - congas, rhythm box, table percussion
  • Al Foster - drums

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Aghartha Prelude (5:48)
  • Zimbabwe (9:37)
  • Funk (7:17)
  • Unknown (5:57)
  • Turnaround Phrase (10:43)
  • Tune in 5 (8:38)
  • Ife (22:01)

Editing notes:

My edits were mainly motivated by the too-much-of-a-good-thing principle; less is theoretically more, from a repeat listening POV – or a one-time, stoned-out-of-your-mind encounter. 

In several cases, I omitted the conclusions of performances, which tended to be collective rave-ups on the theme that didn’t add much new information. Some of fusion jazz’s assumptions about a “rock” audience were incorrect. If you’ve explored the crap out a riff, you don’t have to come back and beat it to death before turning a corner. Be more like the Grateful Dead. (One "Sunshine Daydream" event per show is enough.)

I also reduced the number of times the music went down to a minimalist percussive hush. That kind of dramatic move isn’t needed more than once or twice during a listening arc. (Might have been fantastic, while watching the band live.)

And I made a few more surgical cuts, eliminating dull solo stretches that took away from the more incendiary parts of the performances. These edits are few. Mostly I shortened, rather than plastic surgerying. But I assure you that you prefer in advance this Aghartha edit that has the guitar solo jumping in right away. 

Cover based on a photograph by Christian Rose.

Miles Davis: Turnaround Phrase (11/19/73 violin mutation edit)

Imagine the frontline of the 1973 Miles Davis band as several violinists playing a frantic bop homage to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. 

Then listen to this pitch-and-tempo shifted, re-EQ’ed performance of “Turnaround Phrase” from London on 11/19/73.

The balance on this show’s soundboard is really off, which I think is what allowed me to achieve this weird effect.

Miles Davis: Antibes Festival ’73 Edits

The Miles Davis band’s July 20, 1973 performance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in in Juan-les-Pins, France, is off the charts.

Unfortunately, the sound board recording of the show leaves Miles’ trumpet almost entirely out of the mix. He's extremely quiet compared to all the other players. You can successfully lock your ears on him and enjoy the whole show - on headphones, paying attention - but the mix doesn’t work for general listening enjoyment. 

What this Save Your Face mix does is edit several performances down to shorter tracks that are dominated by fantastic solos by Dave Liebman (sax, flute) and guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas. 

Cosey’s soloing is berserk and amazing – think Fred Frith or Snakefinger. This short edit of “Turnaround Phrase” is probably the most punk rock Miles I've heard. 

27-minute mp3 file zipped up here

  • Turnaround Phrase (edit, 4:29)
  • Unknown (edit, 5:28)
  • Ife (edit, 16:42)

Musicians: Miles Davis (tp, org); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, pc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, pc)

Grateful Dead Shortlist: October ’87 (Shoreline)

The Grateful Dead played only one run in October 1987. This 100-minute highlights mix pulls from those three Mountainview California shows on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the month.

Most of the selections come from the first two shows, which have really nicely mixed soundboards that highlight the quality singing and the exquisite musical detailing. 1987 seems to be a notable year for performances that could sell anyone on songs they've never heard in any other version.

If you enjoyed the Save Your Face September '87 mix that focused on great versions with killer Garcia vocals, you'll enjoy many of these tracks on the same terms.

102-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in song title tags)

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Cumberland Blues (w/Maggie’s Farm intro)
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Candyman
  • Bird Song
  • High Time
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • China Cat Sunflower > Rider Jam
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • Lovelight
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Let It Grow
  • Stella Blue
  • My Brother Esau
  • Brokedown Palace

Edit notes:

I edited “Rider” to an instrumental because there were crackly defects on the source. It’s a hard edit (I’ve done it a few times), and this one isn’t perfect, but there’s always something to be said for not having to listen to “Rider” in order to enjoy the “China Cat” jam. 

Grateful Dead Shortlist: Garcia Sings Hunter/Garcia (September 1987)

If you don’t already think of 1987 as one of those years in which the Grateful Dead often played their original compositions perfectly, then you’re in for a happy surprise. Following his 1986 illness, Garcia repossessed his catalogue of songs with massive joy and a voice that was mightier than it had been in years. 

This is a very narrow mix of Garcia singing his heart out on classic Hunter/Garcia compositions (plus “Dew”) in September 1987.  I selected from soundboards with mixes that make his voice the center of the performances. The cities are Providence, Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

    Two-hour+ mp3 mix zipped up here (3 LPs or two discs, as you wish. Dates and cities included in mp3 title tags.)

    Side One:

    • West LA Fadeaway
    • Ship of Fools
    • High Time

    Side Two:

    • They Love Each Other
    • Fire on the Mountain
    • China Doll

    Side Three:

    • Dire Wolf
    • Wharf Rat
    • Eyes of the World

    Side Four:

    • He’s Gone
    • Row Jimmy

    Side Five:

    • Black Peter
    • Morning Dew
    • Brokedown Palace

    Side Six (Encore w/different sound board balance):

    • Loser
    • Might as Well
    • U.S. Blues


    • The last three selections don’t have Garcia’s vocals as forward and clear in the mix as the rest of the tracks, but the singing and band performances insisted that they be included.
    • There are two edits on this mix. “Wharf Rat” and “He’s Gone" switch from 9/16 to 9/20 to combine the better sung version with the more amazing conclusion.  

    Grateful Dead Shortlist: Deer Creek, June 21-23 1993

    This is a 3-hour mix of highlights from the Grateful Dead’s three-show, June 1993 run at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. It is pulled from matching SBD sources, except for “Loser” and “High Time,” where the audience recording worked better.

    The band was crackling on a lot of first set tunes during this run, particularly in the good times and old-timey zones, with a heavy Garcia-song tilt. Twangy, funky. Some of it has a light touch, but much of it is surprisingly fierce, given the songs. The first disc of this mix pulls that kind of material together into a really fun, unconventional first set. No jam necessary.

    The second and third discs collect the big numbers, which have a nice dynamic range. There’s plenty of intense exploration in the 24-minute “Terrapin,” and the first two-thirds of “Fire” are fiery. In contrast, there’s a chill, focused vibe to much of the rest of the improvisation – “Scarlet,” “Dark Star,” “Eternity,” and “Victim.”  (I edited the latter two songs to instrumentals specifically to nestle them up alongside this short-but-sweet “Dark Star.”)

    “High Time” was played very rarely after 1991; this is the sixth from last. “Dark Star” is the fifth from last. This mix doesn’t include Drums>Space highlights, which I’m reserving for a future mix dedicated to only that stuff. Caveat: The first few minutes of "Terrapin's" sung parts are rough, but the performance gains steam as the song progresses, flowing into a great jam, so I didn't edit it down.

    3-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

    Disc One (70 minutes)

    • Jack Straw >
    • Friend of the Devil
    • Jack-a-Roe (slight edit)
    • Loose Lucy
    • Way to Go Home
    • Let the Good Times Roll (edit)
    • It’s All Over Now
    • Lazy River Road
    • Black Peter
    • Loser
    • High Time

    Disc Two (49 minutes)

    • Scarlet Begonias >
    • Fire on the Mountain
    • Terrapin Station > Jam

    Disc Three (53 minutes)

    • Dark Star
    • Eternity Jam
    • Victim or the Crime Jam > 
    • Crazy Fingers
    • He’s Gone
    • I Need a Miracle Jam >
    • Days Between (edit)
    • Encore: I Fought the Law (slight edit)