TBT | Branford Marsalis Guests With Widespread Panic

In September of 1997 Branford Marsalis’ Buckshot Le Fonque ensemble opened a handful of shows for Georgia rockers Widespread Panic. When the shows were announced, Spreadheads hoped the pairing would lead to the saxophonist sitting in with Panic and their wish was granted on September 6 and 7 in Bristow, VA and Boston respectively.

On September 6 Marsalis came out at the end of Widespread Panic’s first set at the Nissan Pavilion for a jam out of “Diner” and renditions of “Aunt Avis” and “Fishwater.” The entire show can be streamed via PanicStream. On September 7 Branford lent a hand on “Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” “Arleen” and “Love Tractor” at the end of Widespread Panic’s first set at Harbor Lights. PanicStream has a stream of the Boston show as well.

Branford has such a good ear and picks up on the intricacies of each song so well, just as he did on his guest appearances with the Grateful Dead in the early ’90s. Widespread Panic thought so much of the collaboration that they included the gorgeous take on “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” from Boston on their 1998 live album Light Fuse, Get Away. Take a listen:

Surprisingly, Marsalis has yet to sit in with Panic again since those shows in Bristow and Boston, but we do hope one day they perform together again.


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