Another great idea that has become an Ashkenaz tradition, the fourth annual Ashkenaz celebration of Jerry Garcia’s birthday, “Very Jerry 4,” features a one-time-only, all-star Bay Area cast of players from “Dead to the World” host David Gans to guitar wizard Henry Kaiser, acoustic string master Jody Stecher, and Pam Brandon of Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys fame. Also of note, tonight takes a more acoustic direction, just as Garcia often did.
Jerome John Garcia would have turned 72 on August 1. Although his body is gone, the Grateful Dead guitarist’s spirit and music have never been more alive. That spirit is the heart of tonight’s all-star tribute, celebrating Garcia the composer and performer, as soloists, duos, and bands perform separately and in kaleidoscopic combinations, acoustic and electric, and both at once, in this community benefit for Ashkenaz.
The evening mixes Garcia-oriented songs as well as jams on favorite Garcia compositions that likely will include “Keep Your Day Job,” “Black Muddy River,” “Cold Rain and Snow,” “Deal,” Dupree’s Diamond Blues,” and many more classics. One of the joys of this event is how much the musicians love getting a chance to play and sing Garcia favorites, often in bands and groups of musicians that will happen this one time.
In addition to Gans, Kaiser, Stecher, and Brandon, musicians will include Jeff Pehrson (of Box Set and the Fall Risk, not to mention the most recent edition of Furthur with Bob Weir and Phil Lesh), his Fall Risk bandmate Phil Savell on guitar, Hawaiian harpist Anela Lauren (check out her CD “Harpin’ on the Dead”), singer-guitarist Garrin Benfield (he was part of the JHAM Band that visited Haiti and Jamaica, see Aug. 2 listing), multi-string wizard Eric Thompson (of everything from Black Mountain Boys to Aux Cajunals, and tonight he’s teaming with Kaiser and Stecher), guitar ace Joe Burke, the delightful band Rusty Stringfield (minus Matt Lauer), Maurice Tani (of 77 El Deora), singer-guitarist Joe Balestreri (The Flux), bassist Zach Partain (a member of the Monkey House gang with several other of tonight’s performers), Neil Hampton (Dedicated Maniacs, Spun Hippo), and pianist-singer Rabbit Quinn.
Although Jerry Garcia never played at Ashkenaz, he has a long history with the venue. Since the ’90s Ashkenaz has hosted Grateful Dead Nights, featuring a plethora of musicians who worked with him over the decades, as well as bands that pay homage to the music of Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, and scores of acts who follow in their footsteps.
Very Jerry 4 is a Community Benefit Night to raise funds for Ashkenaz. Beginning with a salute to Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday in May 2011, musicians have donated their time and talents in a creative and inspiring series of tributes, every few months honoring a different music great and supporting the nonprofit local institution that is Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center.
When & Where
Ashkenaz is the East Bay's home to world music & dance... established 1973; nonprofit since 1997. We are always all ages! Kids 12 & under are admitted free unless otherwise noted.
All of our online ticket sales are will call. We will have a list of ticket buyers at the door; you do not need to bring a printout of your ticket/order confirmation.
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, or 30 minutes before the dance lesson if there is one, unless otherwise noted.
Ashkenaz's Café opens when doors open and offers beer (draft and bottled), wine, kombucha, juices, sodas, coffee and tea, and snacks and light meals (all vegetarian, mostly organic).