Multi-instrumentalist, session ace and educator Marc Muller (right) leads the latest edition of the DEAD ON LIVE project back to the Count Basie Friday night. (Photo by Brian Stratton)
Call it a lifestyle choice, a fad or a fashion. Reject it as something immoral and unnatural. But someone close to you your niece or nephew, your letter carrier, the church elder, that soulmate you thought you knew so well is a Deadhead, or something very much like it.
Unlike the Grateful Dead themselves who just kind of improvised their way into one of the most enviable careers ever constructed of happy/sad accidents the fans, whether musicians themselves or laymen, are a detail-intensive bunch for sure. Contrary to the get-a-bath stereotype, they’re the folks who make the trains run on time; the entrepreneurs and visionaries, the doctors and district managers, and almost certainly the IT techs who make sense of that often inscrutable machinery we’re all plugged into these days.
Here on and around the greater Red Bank green, we’ve got access to any number of Grateful Dead tributes and tributaries working the regional circuit from projects like the borough-based Dead Bank and Mark Diomede’s venerable Juggling Suns, to Splintered Sunlight and Dark Star Orchestra, the well-traveled ensemble that dedicates each of its gigs to a specific recreation of a particular set from the Dead’s historical soundboard canon.
But if there exists an even more elevated plane of obsession, it’s the exclusive purview of Marc Muller master multi-instrumentalist, sought-after session ace, adjunct professor at Monmouth University and the man whose Rock the Basie band-camp program has become a firmly rooted feature of the Count Basie Theatre schedule.
On Black Friday a night when everyone from Santa to the Grinch is expected to be present and accounted for on the streets, stages and station stops of Red Bank the 10-year veteran of Shania Twain‘s band returns to the Basie boards (in the company of special guest Nicole Atkins) with the latest edition of a project about which he says, “I don’t know if ANYONE has done this to the extent that I have.”