Jazz is Dead Laughing Water

There's been a spate of instrumental versions of classic rock albums recently, and here the nod goes to the Grateful Dead's Wake of the Flood. That project's loveliest melodies include the sultry new age blues of "Stella Blue" and the haunting "Row Jimmy," where Jerry Garcia's gentle vocal is replaced here by the seductive slide guitar of Derek Trucks. His playing and the driving fiddle of bluegrass great Vassar Clements make this music special. Too bad they appear on only three tunes. Their spirit celebrates how the Dead enlarged the improvisational scope of country-rock in ways that only the Band could match. This one sounds like it was recorded in concert and if only more room had been given to the guests, there would have been cause for a real party. (S.R.I.)