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Bobby And The Midnites: World Of Rhythm Live

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Bobby And The Midnites: World of Rhythm Live (1991)

This video features a rare look at and listen to one of guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir's side projects during his days of active duty in the Grateful Dead. Bobby & the Midnites are a jazz-heavy all-star congregate who issued a few albums as well as toured extensively in the early '80s. This performance was recorded during a 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival appearance. Despite a few moments of true inspiration, for the most part the set is rather lackluster -- possibly due in part to the largely non-responsive and non-Deadhead audience. Even though four of the five members of the band are post-bop jazz heavies, Weir's relatively compact pop compositions don't seem to challenge or inspire in the same way that Jerry Garcia's solo outings did. By contrast, Garcia's could often be both simultaneously adept and musically fulfilling. This incarnation of the Midnites includes Billy Cobham (drums/vocals), Bobby Cochran (guitar/vocals), Dave Garland (keyboards/sax/vocals), and Alphonso Johnson (bass/vocals) accompanying Weir (guitar/vocals). A majority of the selections are from Weir's second solo effort, Heaven Help the Fool (1978), as well as Bobby & the Midnites' (1982) self-titled debut. Tracks such as "Festival," "Easy to Slip," and "Salt Lake City" stick fairly closely to their studio counterparts with very little in the way of improvisation taking place. The funky and taut cover of "Young Blood" is given a playful presentation and hints at the band's capabilities for musically stretching out. Billy Cobham's percussion solo, "Drums Galore," fits effortlessly, sandwiched between Johnson's inspired "Book of Rules" -- wholly reworking the Heptones' original -- and a passable version of "Josephine." While this set is far from being a complete washout, Weir fans and curious Deadheads might be best served by seeking the voluminous amounts of live tapes that circulate and likewise feature this incarnation of the Midnites.

 


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