LIFE, MUSIC AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

The Rex Foundation, the non-profit, charitable organization established in 1983 by friends and members of the Grateful Dead, will present its second annual benefit concert, "Life, Music and the Pursuit of Happiness," on Friday, March 28th at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. The evening’s performers will include singer/songwriter Bruce Hornsby, Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir with bass master Rob Wasserman and New York turntabalist DJ Logic, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and friends. Concert ticket prices are $100, $55 and $40. Tickets are on sale now at GDTS TOO online (or call 415.457.6388), or the Marin Civic Box Office at 415.499.6800. Tickets that include a special pre-concert reception with the artists, dinner and silent auction are available by calling the Rex Foundation at 415.457.1296 or by visiting the website at www.rexfoundation.org

Bruce Hornsby has cut a wide creative swath along his career path, starting with his earliest days in Los Angeles when he played in Sheena Easton’s touring band. Since then, his boundary-stretching pursuits have continued unabated. From his earlier work like the 1986 “The Way it Is,” a crisp and cinematic narrative about civil rights, marked by lengthy, jazz-inflected piano passages, until today, Hornsby’s ambitious compositions have scaled the charts and saturated the airwaves. Bruce Hornsby has been part of the greater Grateful Dead family since 1987, when his band opened for the Dead at a concert in Monterey and he formed a musical relationship with Jerry Garcia that led to several recording collaborations. From 1990 to 1992, he was a regular performer with the band.

Bob Weir was born in 1947 and raised in Atherton, California. Though Bob experimented with piano and trumpet, his life in music truly began when he fell in love with the guitar at the age of fourteen. He began in the folk realm and then moved on to his first band, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, which next became the Warlocks and then the Grateful Dead, and the rest is rock 'n' roll history. Since the early 1970s, Weir has also carried on a successful solo career, with bands like Bobby and the Midnites and currently RatDog, and the long-time collaboration with Rob Wasserman.

Rob Wasserman, distinguished Grammy-winning bassist, has worked with artists as diverse as Lou Reed, Stephane Grappelli, Rickie Lee Jones, DJ Logic, Ani DiFranco, and dance choreographer Mark Morris. One of the most highly regarded bassists around, Wasserman has literally re-defined the look and sound of his instrument. His solo recording career includes, most notably, a trilogy of work: Solo, Duets and Trios, to be re-released shortly as a three-CD box set. His upcoming release, in collaboration with Studs Terkel, Ani DiFranco and others, will feature newly discovered Woody Guthrie lyrics.

Bronx born DJ Logic (a.k.a. Jason Kibler) grew up in the heart of the hip-hop revolution, becoming a hip-hop historian at an early age and documenting the sounds and styles of rap’s pioneers. At fourteen, Kibler was rockin’ house parties all over town with a set of turntables and a unique DJ spin. In the '90s, he joined a collective of promising musicians, Black Rock Coalition. They were signed to Sony’s 550 label and performed around the globe with Living Color, and along the way DJ Logic began collaborating with some of the most innovative players around: Vernon Reid, Graham Haynes, John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Mino Cinelu, to name a few. The Anomaly, released in 2001 (ropeadope/Atlantic), showcases the cross-cultural talents of DJ Logic, blending hip-hop, jazz, classic funk and new-school house.

Mickey Hart is best known for his nearly three decades as part of the Grateful Dead, but his drive to plumb the depths of rhythm has led him to many other projects, most notably his rhythm summit group Planet Drum, which united him with some of the great drummers of the world on an eponymous album which won the first World Music Grammy and led to several fabulously received tours. Planet Drum is one of twenty-nine recordings released on Hart's the WORLD series on Rykodisc Records, which offers a wide variety of music from virtually every corner of the globe. His lifelong fascination with the history and mythology of music is documented in three books: Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Planet Drum and Spirit into Sound. In 1999 Hart was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, where he heads up the sub-committee on the digitization and preservation of the Center's vast collections.

The Rex Foundation was established in 1983 as a non-profit charitable organization in order to provide community support for creative endeavors in the arts, the sciences, and education. Since 1984, the Foundation has granted more than $7 million to some 900 recipients. With the death of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, the Rex Foundation lost a friend and board member. With the cessation of Grateful Dead touring, Rex lost its main source of funding and, until December 2001, had limited its grant making to three annual awards.

In December 2001, the Rex Foundation presented its first benefit concert to help launch the renewal of the Rex Foundation’s activities. The concert, "The Healing Power of Music," helped spark a new era of broad community support for the organization, and in 2002 the Foundation granted $156,500. Proceeds from "Life, Music and the Pursuit of Happiness" will support the foundation's goal to multiply its grant making each year and to once again fund many grassroots programs that might not otherwise receive mainstream recognition yet work in innovative, bold, and sometimes controversial ways to bring about helpful solutions to local and global challenges.

The mission of the Rex Foundation is to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere. For more information on the Rex Foundation, visit the website at www.rexfoundation.org.

[Published on: 3/12/03]

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