DIXIE DREGS discography (prime albums) and reviews

 

One from the prime jazz-rock fusion ensembles ever, the Dixie Dregs combined virtuoso method with eclecticism in addition to a sense of humor and spirit also regularly lacking in similar projects. Guitarist Steve Morse and bassist Andy West played together as high-school students in Augusta, GA, within a conventional rock band known as Dixie Grit. When Morse was expelled from school for refusing to reduce his hair, he enrolled in the University of Miami School of Music, where he met violinist Allen Sloan, who had played with the Miami Philharmonic, and drummer Rod Morgenstein. The 3 decided to form a band, and Morse convinced West to come to Miami and join. the Dixie Dregs completed their lineup with keyboardist Steve Davidowski. Their very first album, The Fantastic Spectacular, was recorded for a class project in 1975 and later released by the band (it’s long out of print). Following graduation, the quintet started playing live around the South and got its break following opening for Sea Level on 1976, when a representative from Capricorn Records was impressed adequate to sign the band. Mark Parrish, a former member of Dixie Grit, replaced Davidowski for their official debut, 1977’s Free Fall. Get more information about dixiedregstour.com/dixi-dregs-tour-set-list-2018.html

Their follow-up, What If, proved to be one of their most artistically effective albums, and the Dixie Dregs played in the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival with T Lavitz replacing Parrish. Half of Night of your Living Dregs contains excerpts from that concert. The group shortened its name towards the Dregs for 1981’s Unsung Heroes, and added each vocalists and three-time national fiddling champ Mark O’Connor, whose old-timey playing style added another dimension towards the group’s sound, for Industry Common. The Dregs then disbanded; the hugely respected Morse formed his personal band and recorded quite a few albums, later joining Kansas from 1986 to 1988, when Morgenstein hooked up with pop-metallists Winger.

The Dregs reunited briefly in 1988 to get a series of live dates, but a full-fledged reunion did not take spot till 1992, with Morse, Lavitz, Morgenstein, and Dave LaRue from the Steve Morse Band in West’s place. Allen Sloan rejoined only briefly, with his position then filled by ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra member Jerry Goodman. Bring ‘Em Back Alive was culled from the group’s tour, and 1994’s Complete Circle was also nicely received. California Screamin’ followed in early 2000.