NEW MUSIC MAY CAUSE HISTORY TO REPEAT ITSELF
The rock jam sessions at The Matrix on Fillmore Street, judging from a couple of hours there last night, are the most consistently interesting experimental music in town.
The Matrix a few years ago was the seed bed of what is now the astonishingly successful San Francisco sound.
The new music that guitarist Jerry Garcia and his friends were getting into last night may indicate history will repeat itself and The Matrix will be the home of a renaissance in the San Francisco rock musicians' attitudes.
Garcia, the prodigious instrumentalist and nominal leader of the Grateful Dead, is a spokesman for more freedom of expression and a far looser and expanded musical scene.
"Fate brought us together here tonight," he quipped, "so this is fate music."
"We're trying new things, feeding ideas to each other, using new instrumental blends, inviting guests to join us...we are enlarging our world."
The Grateful Dead is still alive, but Garcia doesn't believe in months on end of traveling, doing regular concerts, playing things safe.
"We may have a full Grateful Dead show some day," he said, "with girl singers, more complex rhythms. We may even enlarge the band."
Last night with two drummers, guest guitarist Elvin Bishop, and bassist Phil Lesh, Garcia was getting into more fascinating and enjoyable expressions than I run into in most of the more stereotyped rock and jazz clubs and concerts.
This electronic experimentation will never be commercially successful. It has long-line themes with continuous improvisation. Far closer to the jazz sessions of old than to the neatly processed pop-rock of today.
The Matrix is a relaxed musical workshop. It's a beer-wine place with neat decor, an inexpensive menu, a beautiful sound system, and some beautiful people, too.
(by Philip Elwood, from the San Francisco Examiner, 31 October 1968)