During a brief period in the early 1970s, the Grateful Dead looked to expand their one-of-a-kind sound even further by welcoming a small section of horn players during their fall tour of 1973.
While the Dead’s most recognizable performances with a horn player would probably be their shows with Branford Marsalis in the 1990s, it’s interesting to hear the Dead play an extended set with saxophonist/flutist Martin Fierro and trumpeter Joe Ellis during a period that included their September 15th, 1973 show at Providence Civic Center in Providence, RI. Fierro was also a part of the famed Legion of Mary band of 1974—1975, which featured Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, to name a few.
The eight-show tour with horns in fall 1973 is a testament to the Dead’s ability to play in a wide array of circumstances. To hear them let loose with a completely unique band arrangement is nothing short of inspiring. As the Grateful Dead continued to rise in popularity among East Coast fans during the early 70s, this Providence performance was one to remember.
Stream the full set with horns beginning with “Truckin'” from their September 15th performance below.
Grateful Dead – Providence Civic Center – 9/15/73
[Audio: Matthew Vernon]