On the 45th anniversary summer of these performances, a mix ideally suited to any Deadhead’s summer listening.
The Grateful Dead played live only sporadically in the spring and summer of 1973 – just 15 shows over five months, at only 10 venues. The Dead haven’t officially released anything from this period, that I am aware of, except the spectacular “Watkins Glen Jam.” (Update: The "Pacific Northwest, 1973-1974" official release includes three summer '73 shows.)
“The Watkins Glen Jam” is relevant here, because this mix is also an improbably long stretch of Summer '73 improvisation without more than a passing reference to identifiable songs.
That summer, an improvisational theme in 6/8 that had been kicking around since late 1972 suddenly became the Dead’s regularly recurring jam, only to die out again in the early fall. It’s almost an extra Grateful Dead song from the period, sort of a relaxed version of Phil’s 1973-1974 “Eyes of the World” riff, leaning forward toward 1975’s “Stronger Than Dirt.”
For more scholarship on this and other Dead themes, go here.
The accepted name for this theme seems to be “The Phil Jazz Jam,” and I’ve woven together five full-blown summer ’73 performances of it with other outstanding, non-song-based improvisation from that summer.
It’s an outdoor, afternoon-into-sunset show in a meadow that you never heard about. It’s the unjustifiably neglected Summer of 1973 Grateful Dead, sending you a postcard from a wonderful place – a place that is not 1972, Spring 1973, Fall 1973, or 1974.
67-minute mp3 mix here (with all relevant information included in mp3 tags)
- Phil Jazz Jam (6/24/73)
- Jam (7/1/73)
- Jam with Phil Jazz Jam moments (5/13/73)
- Phil Jazz Jam (7/1/73)
- Jam (6/9/73)
- Phil Jazz Jam > (6/29/73)
- Jam (6/29/73)
- Jam (6/30/73)
- Jam > (6/22/73)
- Phil Jazz Jam (6/22/73)
- Space (6/10/73)
- Quiet Improvisation (7/1/73)
- Quiet Improvisation (8/1/73)
- Jam (6/10/73)
- Jam (6/23/73)
- Phil Jazz Jam (5/20/73)
If you want more all-out playing from summer 1973, go here.
Cover art by M. DeNoor