The Jerry Garcia project known as Legion of Mary wasn't recorded as such during its lifetime, but it played extensively during a nine-month period from late 1974 to summer 1975.
The band's style was similar to the Dead, with rock & roll, blues, and jazz serving as the foundation for heavy improvisation. Keyboard player Merl Saunders was the linchpin, but the band also included bassist John Kahn, Martin Fierro on reeds, and Ron Tutt on drums. The origins of Legion of Mary began in 1971, when Saunders and Garcia began playing together. Garcia featured heavily on Saunders' 1972 album Heavy Turbulence, and the pair also collaborated on a follow-up from early 1973, Fire Up, plus the double-LP Live at Keystone, recorded in July 1973. Finally, the band acquired the name Legion of Mary, and it performed steadily from late 1974 into the summer of 1975, when it broke up. The best survey of its work came when Rhino compiled Legion of Mary: The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 1, a lengthy set taken from various shows. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi