Terrapin Flyer began in 1999 as the house band for the Sunday Grateful Dead Jam at the Boulevard Cafe in Chicago. Through the many associations developed there and many that have continued since, the band has grown into one of the premier Grateful Dead inspired touring acts in the nation. The band draws from the a variety of skilled musicians including Grateful Dead keyboardists Tom Constanten, Bob Bralove and Vince Welnick (RIP). They will be joined on this tour with Jerry Garcia Band organist Melvin Seals and Ratdog guitarist Mark Karan. Additionally, they have done one off shows with guest musicians such as grammy award winning blues harpist Sugar Blue, guitar prodigy Fareed Haque, Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik and musician, songwriter and music journalist David Gans. The band has headlined major festivals and prominent venues across the nation.
From the band's humble beginnings sprang forth an ever growing network of musicians. From a loosely associated group of musicians at a jam night, a band began to develop. The original band came into fruition when they were asked to perform with Grateful Dead keyboardist (1990-1995) Vince Welnick on a cable access television show and festival in Madison, WI. At that time a core band was formed that began performing to larger and larger crowds at the weekly Sunday night jam. The band consisted of two members of what was to be the current line up of Chicago's progressive bluegrass band Cornmeal. With Kris Nowak on lead guitar and "Wavy" Dave Burlingame on bass, the band was ready to move on to its next potent association.
n 8 day tour was planned in 2004 with Melvin Seals the consummate B3 organist of the Jerry Garcia Band for 15 years. The tour was enough fun for Melvin to recognize that this band could perform under the name JGB on its next tour and performed to packed houses under the JGB name on another short tour a bit later in the year. From there several shows were performed with that band as Melvin Seals and Friends. The partnership with Melvin Seals and Terrapin Flyer continues today and features the band digging deeply into the JGB catalog.