“Travel in white light, brother.”
SAN FRANCISCO – Keyboardist Merl Saunders, known as "the godfather of jam bands," died over the weekend of complications from a stroke. He was 74.
Mr. Saunders began playing with Jerry Garcia in 1971 at the Matrix, a small Fillmore Street nightclub where the Grateful Dead guitarist liked to hold informal jam sessions. The Saunders-Garcia Band also played to packed houses at other small local SF clubs like the Keystone Korner in North Beach every weekend the Dead wasn’t touring.
In addition to Merl’s jam band music, he also appeared on such soundtracks as "Fritz the Cat" and "Steelyard Blues" and others.