Jazz Is Dead Kick Off 25th Anniversary Tour at L.A.’s Lodge Room

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Photo by Stevo Rood

Jazz is Dead XXV opened their 25th-anniversary tour with a (never miss a) Sunday night performance at the Lodge Room in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Led by band co-founder Alphonso Johnson, the quartet–consisting of Johnson, guitarist Steve Kimock, drummer Pete Lavezzoli, and Bobby Lee Rodgers on banjo and guitar–covered, in sequence, the entirety of the Grateful Dead’s Wake of The Flood

In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, the ensemble stretched the running time of the original release–45 minutes–with jazz-inflected readings of the seven songs that eclipsed, in total, the 90-minute mark during a first set that started sharply at 8 p.m. – as advertised.  With the main vocal melodies being interpreted instrumentally, Kimock, Rodgers, and Johnson shared equally in that task; as well as dividing up the vast array of soloing with Kimock shifting between electric guitar and pedal steel; Rodgers alternating between banjo and guitar; and Johnson playing a variety of basses including stand-up, acoustic, electric, and his famed Chapman Stick. 

After a brief 15-minute intermission, the four returned for an hour-long set of the Grateful Dead’s catalog classics, beginning with a Rodgers-led “China Doll,” then into a familiar trilogy–“Help On The Way” > “Slipknot” > “Franklin’s Tower,” with the near-capacity crowd singing, impromptu, the indelible chorus–“roll away the dew”–on the outro of the latter. 

Next, Johnson captained a surging “Estimated Prophet” that found a segue into an extended and spaced-out “Dark Star.” Despite an audience stomping the hardwood for one more song, the two-and-a-half-hour appearance and the return of Jazz Is Dead had come to a close. 

Their month-long tour continues with four more shows in California before turning east.

Link to the source article – https://jambands.com/news/2023/01/09/jazz-is-dead-kick-off-25th-anniversary-tour-at-l-a-s-lodge-room/

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