Hard Bop Messengers’ latest creative project focuses on jazz interpretations of the Grateful Dead. John Covelli, a 38-year veteran of the St. Louis music scene, leads his Messengers into new territory at this special Blue Strawberry engagement. The group recently shared a preview of this new creative endeavor with audiences at their “Live at The Last Hotel” performances in St. Louis and Chicago. A medley of “New Speedway Boogie” with an improvised segue into “Cumberland Blues” was a big hit with listeners and left the crowd asking for more. Noting the Dead’s 1970 release, “Workingman’s Dead”, those two songs appear back-to-back on the album but had rarely or never been combined into an extended jam. The Hard Bop Messengers’ performance in Chicago exhibits this mashup of musical styles. For this Blue Strawberry exclusive, expect some re-imagined arrangements of classic Grateful Dead songs delivered by top notch St. Louis musicians with a hard bop flare. This show will be sure to delight Dead fans as well as jazz aficionados.