JOE GALLANT & ILLUMINATI Blues For Allah Project (1996)

Blues For Allah Project (1996)
Live Dead At The Knitting Factory

An entertaining take on the Grateful Dead’s essential Blues For Allah, from bassist/arranger Joe Gallant & his band, Illuminati. They’ve been called a big band but that’s misleading in that the group’s emphasis is not on blaring horns and pre-fab arrangements. Instead, Gallant works strings, jazzy female vocalists, multiple keyboards and generous amounts of improvisation into a hothouse mix of orchestrated rock ensemble playing. That it’s all recorded live on stage at New York’s Knitting Factory makes it all the more daring. The 20 players include some Dead regulars (Tom Constanten, Bob Bralove, David Gans) and some kick ass horn players. It doesn’t much sound like the Grateful Dead’s tonal spaciness, but that’s kind of the point. Listen to the album’s almost “normal” rendition of “The Music Never Stopped.” Gallant is also bassist in Rashied Ali’s Prima Materia. Only a buck and a half at Amazon, HERE.

Invocation (1:58)
Help On The Way/Slipnot!/Franklin’s Tower (18:27)
King Solomon’s Marbles (7:58)
The Music Never Stopped (6:57)
Crazy Fingers (12:07)
Sage And Spirit (3:46)
Prelude (0:53)
Blues For Allah (20:35)


  • Quark
    July 24, 2009 - 17:16 | Permalink

    Where do you find this stuff?
    This is brilliant…and good quality too….are you sure Frank Zappa is dead?

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 - 10:23 | Permalink

    many thanks for the gallanti – I have his terrapin station remake cd which is excellent too.

  • Anonymous
    August 2, 2009 - 02:37 | Permalink

    thanks to all you cats for your gracious words on "the blues for allah project". after a lengthy hiatus, illuminati is now in the retooling stage, and i plan to start gigging with the band in nyc and the east coast this fall. peace * joe

  • Capt. Willard
    August 2, 2009 - 03:02 | Permalink

    Wow… that's pretty cool, Joe. Let us know and we'll be happy to promote whatever you're up to.

  • Anonymous
    August 2, 2009 - 03:50 | Permalink

    thanks, willard, will do. that's very much appreciated.
    keep up the excellent work!
    joe gallant

  • Capt. Willard
    November 8, 2009 - 16:56 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Gummo
    October 25, 2011 - 09:12 | Permalink

    This brings back memories, Willard! This concert was the first real unofficial gathering of New York City area Deadheads after Garcia’s death and as such it meant a lot to us. (In fact, you can find me and my friends in the crowd picture in the inside CD sleeve!) At the time, the future of the rest of the Dead was a big question mark so none of us knew if we’d ever hear these songs in concert again. Joe’s approach, respecting the spirit of what the Dead did without copying them or their style in any way, was a true tribute and a lot of fun as well, even for those of us who normally don’t relate to jazz stylings.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling, thanks for making this available.

    • Willard
      October 25, 2011 - 09:28 | Permalink

      Very cool, thanks for the context. I was wondering who all those stoners were on the inside.

  • Gummo
    October 25, 2011 - 10:11 | Permalink

    Stoners!?? Harrumph! I resemble that remark!

    • Willard
      October 25, 2011 - 12:47 | Permalink

      The Knitting Factory… I’m jealous.

  • ChasCPeterson
    October 25, 2011 - 12:02 | Permalink

    I found this in a used bin many years ago and really enjoy most of it.
    Apparently there are three follow-up CDs out there…

    any leads?

    • Willard
      October 25, 2011 - 12:43 | Permalink

      I knew about Terrapin, but not the others. Thanks.

  • Anonymous
    January 28, 2012 - 04:18 | Permalink

    we just played brooklyn bowl on sat dec 17th. we’re building a great new band site and planning summer ’12 tristate club and festival gigs, and also working toward a very special collaborative project. thanks everybody, for all ongoing interest in illuminati!!

  • Willard
    January 28, 2012 - 10:19 | Permalink

    Thanks Joe,
    Let us know when you have your site together and we’ll plug it and add it to the links. All the best.

  • Leave a Reply