Premiere: Jerry Garcia Band “(What A) Wonderful World” from ‘GarciaLive Volume 16’

June 15, 2021
Premiere: Jerry Garcia Band “(What A) Wonderful World” from ‘GarciaLive Volume 16’

photo credit: John Atashian

GarciaLive Volume 16 is set for release on June 25. The latest installment in the GarciaLive series presents the Jerry Garcia Band’s debut performance at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 1991. This is version of the group that keyboardist Melvin Seals has described as “the magic band,” with Garcia and Seals joined by John Kahn on bass and David Kemper on drums along with Jacklyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones sharing vocal duties.

LaBranch recalls that on this evening at MSG, “There was an incredible atmosphere. This was the same place where the New York Knicks played and I’d also seen other concerts there on TV by so many amazing people.” However, she also reflects Garcia’s ethos, in adding, “It was just another show in a great place. The thing I really liked about working with Jerry was we did our shows and we had a good time. Nobody was better than anybody else, we just played our music. It was about the music.”

Today we premiere the evening’s encore, the group’s moving interpretation of  “(What A) Wonderful World,” the Bob Thiele/George David Weiss composition, long associated with Louis Armstrong.

Relix editor-in-chief Dean Budnick contributed the line notes to GarciaLive 16 and he notes why this performance of the song likely carried additional resonance for Garcia:

“A very special guest was on hand for this show: 91-year-old Mitchell Parish. The great uncle to JGB manager Steve Parrish was a storied songwriter who had composed “Stardust,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Moonlight Serenade” and hundreds of other tunes. Longtime Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally recalls that Mitchell struck up a meaningful conversation with Jerry: “Parish started one sentence with, ‘When I wrote the songs for the Marx Brothers’ Coconuts in 1928,’ and you knew he wasn’t And obscure as it got, Jerry was there, jamming on the rap the way he did on his axe.

“So it must have been with equal measures of delight and trepidation that Garcia opted to encore with an equally iconic American composition the group had premiered earlier on the tour. Although long associated with Louis Armstrong, the Jerry Garcia Band’s warm, emotive take on this song, encapsulated the many moods and hues during an evening of transport that concluded on a sanguine note.”

Listen to “(What A) Wonderful World,” below from GarciaLive 16, which is now available for pre-order.

GarciaLive Vol. 16 : Tracklist

Disc One // Set One:
1. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
2. Struggling Man
3. He Ain’t Give You None
4. Simple Twist of Fate
5. Lay Down Sally

Disc Two:
1. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
2. My Sisters and Brothers
3. Deal

Set Two:
4. The Way You Do The Things You Do
5. Waiting For A Miracle
6. Shining Star
7. Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox

Disc Three:
1. Don’t Let Go
2. That Lucky Old Sun >
3. Bright Side of the Road

4. (What A) Wonderful World