"Space," Definitely the Final Frontier When Ornette Jams with the Dead

On this Acid Flashback Friday, while Pete's busy posting best-ofs and music-biz breakdowns over on DC9 at Night, let me extend to the Deadheads among the Friends this Chrismukkah offering. It's a soundboard recording of the Grateful Dead performing in Oakland in February 1993, during which they were joined by the opening act -- Fort Worth's avant-jazzer Ornette Coleman. By then, Coleman and Jerry Garcia had been old friends and occasional collaborators; Garcia performed on three tracks on Coleman's Virgin Beauty, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in June.

Apparently, a second-gen cassette recording of this show's been around for a while. But a (relatively) pristine soundboard recording popped up recently and has been receiving raves. My preferred days of the Dead extend from '70 (Workingman's Dead) to, um, '70 (American Beauty, natch); the rest I can toke or leave. But this recording offers the long, strange trip -- just the thing for a weirdly warm, windy winter's day if you've got nowhere to go except a pair of headphones. --Robert Wilonsky

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