ALL THAT JAZZ AND ROCK PAID OFF
The jazz world and the rock world got together Sunday night at the Fillmore Auditorium for a benefit for the jazz club, the Both/And, and proved they go together like bagels and lox.
It was the most successful show since Bill Graham has been operating at the Fillmore Auditorium. A record crowd of 2000 paid $2.50 each to attend the long show which began at 6 p.m. with the Jim Young Trio and ended at 2 a.m. with the Grateful Dead.
The groups all played well, almost as if they felt some special significance to the night. The jazz groups operated under some handicaps - the Jazz Ensemble was late, didn't go on, and then bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli left. Tenor Joe Henderson didn't show.
The result of this was that drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Don Moore (from the Jones-Henderson group) played with pianist Denny Zeitlin. It was the most exciting Zeitlin performance I've ever heard, with great thunderous crashes of sound from Jones' backing Zeitlin's piano. They were joined by the remarkable Conga drummer, Bib Black, in a long improvisation that ended their set.
Singer Jon Hendricks sang his version of the comic blues, 'Mumbles' for ten minutes to end his set and got an ovation. It was an impressive moment.
The rock bands then took over. The Wildflower, a group which has shown promise from time to time, sounded more together last night than I have ever heard them. They did several excellent numbers.
The Great Society played with cohesion, drive and inventive original material featuring the interesting voice of Grace Slick and the exacting guitar of Oscar Daniels. Unfortunately, the group disbanded for personal reasons after the Sunday night show.
The set that the Airplane played was totally successful. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's blues solo and vocal on "Kansas City," the duet between Jorma and bassist Jack Cassady, the moving "Don't Let Me Down" by Marty Balin and the Paul Kantner "Fat Angel," along with Signe Anderson's thrilling voice with its warm vibrato soaring into the upper registers, combined to tear up the crowd.
Then the Grateful Dead took over. After a couple of warm-up numbers, including a fine Muddy Waters blues sung by Pig Pen, the band went into "Midnight Hour" and Pig Pen made it into a one-man blues project. He sang for almost 20 minutes, stabbing the phrases out into the crowd like a preacher, using the words to riff like a big band, building to climax after climax, coming down in a release and soaring up again. He is one of the best blues singers of his generation and Sunday night's performance was surely the equal even of the Mick Jagger vocal on "Going Home."
Rik Haines, who produced the light show for the evening, should be proud. It was one of the best and possibly the best of all the local shows. He managed to combine the jazz and rock worlds into one swirling mass of color which wrapped everything up as through we were all encased in a giant plastic bubble hurtling through space.
It was quite an evening.
(From Ralph Gleason's "On The Town" column, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13 1966.)