The Dixie Dregs (also called simply "the Dregs") produced muscular southern rock/fusion during the late seventies and early eighties. They reunited briefly in the early nineties, and reunited again in August, 1999, for a series of concerts at Los Angeles' famed Roxy Theater. The best performances from these hot nights have now been released on Zebra records. All of the original members are present (Morse, Lavitz, Morgenstern, Sloan, West), as well as more recent band members Jerry Goodman (of Mahavishnu Orchestra fame) and Dave LaRue.
Some of the tunes are classics from the Dregs' repertoire: "Freefall," "Night Meets Light," "Jessica," "What If," and "The Great Spectular." The band just kills! There's impeccable chops and hard-driving jamming throughout - the CD's title is well-chosen. The fingers fly furiously on both guitar and violin on "The Bash," a good ol' hoe-down medley of "Wabash Cannonball" and "Rocky Top." The band mines this genre again on the closer, "Dixie," in which they juice up the traditional southern chestnut, then switch it to a minor key. "What If" offers a break from the frenetic energy of the rest of the program with its sensitive, gentle balladry. Dweezil Zappa guests on his father's composition "Peaches en Regalia." (Zebra ZD 44021)
Tracks:Wages of Weirdness; Peaches en Regalia; Freefall; Aftershock; The Bash (Wabash Cannonball and Rocky Top); Night Meets Light; Refried Funky Chicken; Jessica; What If; Sleeveless in Seattle; Ionized; The Great Spectacular; Dixie. (60:35)
Steve Morse - guitar; T Lavitz - keyboards; Rod Morgenstern - drums; Allen Sloan, Jerry Goodman - violin; Andy West, Dave LaRue - bass; Dweezil Zappa - guitar (on "Peaches en Regalia").
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.