Artist Spotlight: Dave McMurray releases 'Grateful Deadication'

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

A weekly feature showcasing local artists

Name: Dave McMurray

Sound: Jazz. The multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer has also recorded and performed other genres from rock to hip-hop. 

Dave McMurray's latest "Grateful Deadication," his take on the Grateful Dead songbook, is out now on Blue Note Records.

History: This Detroit-born saxophonist has a long list of credits. He's got his own catalog of albums, and he's also worked with a multitude of major names including Don Was, Bob James, Kid Rock, Geri Allen, Bob Dylan, Nancy Wilson, the Temptations and Iggy Pop just to name a few. McMurray even played on the Rolling Stones' 1994 album "Voodoo Lounge."

The latest: This month McMurray released "Grateful Deadication," his second album on Blue Note Records. It's a jazz approach to the songs of eclectic rock group Grateful Dead. He's joined on the album by Dead co-founder Bob Weir, fellow Michigan artist Bettye LaVette and others, including Don Was. 

McMurray, who performed with Weir in 2019, said it was the odd measures and complex chords that got him hooked on the Grateful Dead's music. 

“I noticed the songs had great melodies, yet held the openness of Miles Davis’ Electric Period ... the music was catchy, psychedelic, raw, with the idea that nobody solos/everybody solos — akin to Weather Report. The more I listened, the more I knew these songs would eventually become a vehicle for my jazz expression," he said in a press release about the new album. 

The album is streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. For more information on McMurray visit

Melody Baetens