Feb 15, 2012

November 20, 1966: Jon Hendricks & the Dead


Jon Hendricks, who has just returned from an engagement at Shelly's Manne Hole in Hollywood, will be the master of ceremonies this afternoon for the SNCC Benefit at the Fillmore Auditorium from 3 o'clock to midnight. (He will appear earlier at U.C. Medical Center Auditorium at a concert that begins at 2.)
Among the talent appearing at the show will be the James Cotton Blues Band from Chicago (which makes its first West Coast appearance this weekend at the Fillmore), the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Johnny Talbott and De Thangs, and the Grateful Dead.
Hendricks recently taped two songs with the Grateful Dead which are now at Columbia for consideration. Hendricks did them for the sound track of the Jerry Stoll film, "Sons and Daughters" (the antiwar flick which is now being edited) and thought so much of them that he took them down to Columbia's L.A. headquarters.
Hendricks' efforts with the Grateful Dead and his appearance at Monterey with the Jefferson Airplane are only two of the more visible aspects of the inter-action between jazz and rock bands that is now underway.
For some time, the Paul Butterfield band has been playing Nat Adderley's "Work Song" and while the Adderley brothers were in San Francisco recently, the Butterfield band and the Jefferson Airplane played with them in several sessions, and pianist Joe Zawinul's tune "Mercy," as well as several others from the Adderley repertoire, were worked on by the rock groups.
The original hostility between jazz and rock groups is breaking down. Adderley bought the Jefferson Airplane LP in New York prior to his West Coast trip because of the way bassist Jack Casady sounded when Adderley heard one of the tracks on the radio.
Interest in jazz among rock musicians has always been relatively strong, incidentally. Among the other musicians experimenting with some of the rock sounds are bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli whose Jazz Ensemble (with tenor Noel Jewkes) has been appearing at The Matrix.
Guitarist Jerry Hahn, of the John Handy Quintet, is devoting more and more of his time to teaching rock guitarists and is not going out on the road with Handy this winter.
This afternoon's benefit concert should prove to be an interesting mixture of styles, from the rugged urban blues of the Chicago-based Cotton and the rhythm & blues of the Talbott group (with its saxophone) through the electric bands.
The SNCC benefit last winter at the Fillmore was one of the best shows of the season and this one could be equally interesting. Alternating with Jon Hendricks as master of ceremonies will be disc jockey John Hardy of KDIA, and Stokely Carmichael will address the group during the afternoon.

(by Ralph Gleason, in the "Lively Arts" column from the San Francisco Chronicle, November 20 1966)

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  1. Gleason mentions Jon Hendricks appearing with Jefferson Airplane at Monterey. This was the Monterey Jazz Festival in September '66 - Hendricks had been the MC at that event too, and had sung or scatted onstage with the Airplane. (There's even a picture.)
    So it's a tantalizing possibility that he might have sung with the Dead at this show...
    I still wonder how the Dead were chosen to work with him in the studio!

  2. Another Ralph Gleason article in the 12/18/66 San Francisco Examiner, "The Purblind Attitudes of Jazz," complained about jazz players who closed their ears to rock music, and noted a few exceptions:
    “Dizzy Gillespie...has always listened to...the rhythm & blues records on the air. He now has a bass player who plays the electric bass. Charles Lloyd has used an electric guitarist, Robbie Robertson who played with Bob Dylan, on recordings. Cannonball Adderley has been fascinated with the sounds of the Jefferson Airplane (especially those of the bassist Jack Casady) and of the Grateful Dead and the Paul Butterfield Band, and Miles Davis reportedly dug Bob Dylan and was once close to going on a concert tour with him.
    But many jazzmen view the rock boom as a threat. 'They've stolen our beatnik audience,' Leo Wright said...”

    Robertson had played on a couple tracks on Charles Lloyd's Of Course, Of Course sessions in 1965. I don't know how much Miles dug Dylan, but at this point Miles hadn't 'gone electric' yet. Dizzy Gillespie was at the Human Be-In on 1/14/67, commenting on the Dead to Ralph Gleason, "Who are those guys? They sure can swing." (It might've helped that Charles Lloyd was with them.) Charles Mingus watched the Dead's Central Park show on 6/8/67, surprised by the big crowd, and talked with Lesh afterwards. (But Lesh admitted, "I was way too intimidated to ask what he thought about our sound.")

    In the November article, Gleason mentions the Airplane (and the Butterfield band) working with Cannonball Adderley's group in several sessions, on 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' and other tracks; but I'm guessing this was a false rumor since I haven't read about it elsewhere. The Airplane were far less jazz-oriented than other SF bands like the Dead, even if they'd played the Monterey Jazz Festival.