|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (September 2013)|
June 13, 1947|
|Origin||Beverly Hills, California|
|Died||May 30, 1996(aged 48)|
|Years active||Late 1960s – 1996|
|Associated acts||Jerry Garcia, Old and in the Way, Legion of Mary, Paul Butterfield|
John Kahn (June 13, 1947 - May 30, 1996) was an American rock and roll bass guitarist. For a period of about twenty five years Kahn was Jerry Garcia's principal collaborator outside of the Grateful Dead.
John Kahn was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Adopted at birth by the Kahn family, he grew up in Beverly Hills, California. At Beverly Hills High School, he earned a reputation as a precocious musician playing jazz guitar and composing a symphonic piece, "Western Impressions", the first orchestral work by a student to be publicly performed by the high school orchestra under the direction of Robert Holmes.
In his junior year at high school, Kahn switched to acoustic bass and formed a jazz duo with a pianist, Peter Isackson, who encouraged him to study with Monty Budwig, a member of the house rhythm section at Shelly's Manne-hole. Kahn moved to Sausalito, California in 1965, where he began gravitating towards the rock culture that was in full bloom at the very time that Haight Ashbury was becoming the capital of Hippiedom. In 1967 he began working with rhythm and blues and then rock musicians.
Kahn first began his collaborations with Jerry Garcia's numerous side projects in May 1970, as bassist of Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales. He played in every line-up of the Jerry Garcia Band, and was in many other Garcia side projects, including Reconstruction, the reformed version of Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders that made its public debut in 1979.
Kahn was also bassist for Legion of Mary, an incarnation of the Jerry Garcia Band that featured both Garcia and Kahn, as well as Merl Saunders on keyboards and vocals, Martin Fierro on saxophone and flute and Ron Tutt on drums. Legion of Mary played only from January 23 to July 6, 1975.
Kahn also was bassist for the Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia Band, which made its debut in May 1973 and continued on and off until Jerry's death. The last Jerry Garcia Band show with Garcia being played at the Warfield in San Francisco on April 23, 1995. Kahn played acoustic stand-up bass in Old and in the Way, which toured from March through May 1973. The band, along with Kahn, featured Garcia on banjo and vocals, David Grisman on mandolin and vocals, Peter Rowan on guitar and vocals, Richard Greene and Vassar Clements on fiddle. Kahn also played alongside Garcia as acoustic bassist in the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, and often during the early eighties as the guitarist's only accompanist in the Garcia and Kahn folk duo.
Prior to his involvement with Garcia, Kahn played on The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper and was briefly a member of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band in one of its later line-ups. Other collaborators include Maria Muldaur, Nick Gravenites and John Lee Hooker.
Kahn died of a heroin overdose.
- Garcia Band Carries on for Music's Sake David Bothner. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Feb 26, 1997
- John Kahn on Allmusic
- John Kahn on IMDB
- John Kahn discography on DeadDisc.com
- John Kahn at Find a Grave