"Legion of Mary . . . played many blistering shows and laid the foundation for the later Jerry Garcia Band
- The American Book of the Dead
Legion of Mary was Jerry Garcia
’s first musical project to feature horns. The band was comprised of Garcia, bassist John Kahn
, keyboardist Merl Saunders
, and drummer Ron Tutt
and Martin Fierro
on tenor saxaphone, flute and percussion.
The Legion of Mary toured the country in the mid-1970’s playing mostly covers... that ran the gamut from reggae
songs to old r&B
This is an example of the set's the LOM was playing back in theri heyday:
07/22/74 Keystone - Berkeley, CA
Boogie On Reggae Woman,
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You,
You Can Leave Your Hat On,
That's What Love Will Make You Do,
The Harder They Come,
What's Going On (instrumental),
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (reprise)
In the Legion of Mary, Jerry's unique guitar was combined with Martin's jazzy sax stylings, funkified with Merl's Hammond organ, and solidly backed by bassist John Kahn and drummer Ron Tutt.
Perhaps even more than the Dead themselves, LOM set a precedent for what is now considered grove music - the white-boy funk of Phish or the free-jazz improv of MMW. From Karl Denson to Galactic the scene owes a heaping of thanks and praise for the Legion of Mary.
Here's what Relix Magazine had to say about Legion of Mary:
"In 1974, Legion of Mary was most likely the only real acid-jazz group."
Today the LOM is still active, but only Martin Fierro remains from the origional line-up. Other band members include:
On bass, Alex Baum, Ray Scott on guitar, Wayne De La Cruz on keys, drummer Paul Spina, and Kenny Simeone, singing lead vocals and playing guitar.
Needless to say they aren't what they used to be, but are still a fun bar band.