Iconic keyboardist Melvin Seals, most notably known for his work and long-lasting friendship with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, turns 68 today! Celebrate with some fantastic videos from through the years below.
Born in 1953, Seals explored and starting learning the piano at a young age, playing gospel music for his local church in San Francisco. Developing his own style and sound, a young Melvin Seals started to favor the B-3 Hammond organ, as it eventually became his go-to throughout his wildly illustrious career. Joining the Jerry Garcia Band in the late 1970s, Melvin’s musical relationship with Garcia flourished, as the two played music together for 18 years until Captain Trips untimely death in August of 1995. Melvin Seals had the third-longest tenure in Jerry Garcia’s side project, behind Garcia and bassist John Kahn, who founded the band in 1975.
Following Kahn’s death in 1996 and Garcia’s just the year prior, Seals made it his lifelong mission to keep the music of Jerry Garcia alive in a touring, live setting. Melvin Seals founded his own incarnation of Jerry Garcia Band, which he simply calls JGB and features a plethora of fine musical contributors, including Steve Kimock, John Kadlecik, Donna Jean Godchaux, Stu Allen, Mark Karan, and Mookie Siegel to name a few.
To celebrate Melvin’s 68th lap around the sun, enjoy some special videos from his time in the Jerry Garcia Band!
Jerry Garcia Band – “Tangled Up In Blue”
Jerry Garcia Band w/ Clarence Clemons – Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts – 9/10/1989
Jerry Garcia Band – The Wiltern – 11/15/1990
Happy birthday Melvin, and cheers to many more!
[Originally published September 27th, 2018]