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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 22 - 28, 2002

  Arts & Entertainment

Melvin Seals to jam at The Roosevelt

Express Arts Editor

Anybody who has played music with the likes of Chuck Berry, Charlie Daniels and Elvin Bishop has been around for a while. This is not to mention the 18 years of playing keyboards with Jerry Garcia and the Jerry Garcia Band.

Melvin Seals. Courtesy photo.

The man and the musician is Melvin Seals, and he is bringing his latest music project, The Melvin Seals’ Melting Pot, to the Roosevelt Tavern in Ketchum. Seals will play Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

Seals has been a force in the music industry for over 30 years. His roots are in gospel music because, as he said in a telephone interview from his hometown San Francisco, "I grew up in the church." It still informs his music.

"My father was the piano player in the church. The singers would do the verse and course, verse and course, then the tag of the song—that would be improv, another form of jam, and things would get higher and higher and the goosebumps would start coming."

Seals’ first professional job was with the band Gideon & Power, a group that was in the thick of the San Francisco gospel music scene. From there, he went to Broadway and worked on a number of Broadway plays. It was work that required your "crossing your ‘t’s and dotting your ‘i’s. It was all very precise," Seals said.

For 18 years after that, Seals played with the Jerry Garcia Band, a group that toured when the Grateful Dead was on break.

"Jerry introduced me to a whole new style of music, a way of looking at music." It is basically what many bands have adopted as a "jam" music—bands like Widespread Panic, Phish and others. "Rehearsing with Jerry, a lot of times the music would just fall apart, and I was saying, ‘Jerry, I can arrange this for you.’ But I had to learn that whole style of playing. Now that’s all I do."

Seals said he has a CD coming out on July 28. Though he has produced many CDs, this is the first for which he has written most of the songs. "It’s what’s in my heart, what I’m saying."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.