Bill Kreutzmann

Friday, February 20, Bluebird Theater, 303-830-8497.

With the surviving members of the Grateful Dead touring this summer for the first time since 2005, it's surprising that 62-year-old drummer Bill Kreutzmann (the notoriously "obscured" member of the Dead, who has been a virtual hermit in Hawaii since the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995) is also touring this winter as part of a trio including Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers) and Scott Murawski (Max Creek) that formed last year. Kreutzmann, whose jazz background, which is greatly influenced by Elvin Jones, is still notable in his virtuosic drumming, once said, "Touring as the Dead without Garcia would be like the Beatles without John Lennon. There is no such thing." But Kreutzmann was also known as "Bill Sommers" in the Dead's mid-'60s period, when some of the band was still underage, so he's been known to fib. In 2005 he played a few exciting trio gigs with Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon of Phish, but even then, that group mostly jammed on classic-rock covers, and Kreutzmann's new band isn't much different. Still, in jam bands, it's all about the group improv, and these are some heavy-hitters.

 
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