Alan began playing violin, and later viola, at age 9. He soon built his first guitar from a cigar box with resonating rubber bands. His first “real” guitar was a Stella acoustic. Born to Manhattan artist parents on July 4, 1947—in St Louis where his mother returned to give birth, he claims to have gained his first blues and rock (Chuck Berry) influence from the first three months of his life there.
Gator’s Music Chronology Excerpts & Timeline:
- First band, The Variations, formed in 1961 at age 14 with trumpeter Bob Arthurs who, to this day, commands high regard in the jazz circuit, and drummer Carl Peachman
- By 1963-66, Alan’s high school basement jam sessions were local legend and attracted the attention of a wide band of aspiring pirates including Alan Merrill, John Houseman, and dear friends since departed—Carl and pianist Chris Ishii (Dobbs Ferry & San Diego)
- During this time, his musical interests expanded: self-studies and appreciation of the great traditional bluesmen; jazz guitar including private studies with jazz guitarist Skeeter Best and, a few years later, with Jim Hall; classical guitar with Julio Prol
- Mannes College of Music, then on Lexington and 74th Street in 1965—studies on viola with Violist Paul Doktor and on classical guitar with Leonid Bolotine
In the words of his mother, Louise, “Alan had a wonderful bowing arm—but he loved rock and roll.”
Early 1966: (Water Tower East) Alan was one of the original raga rock boys of the 60s playing open tunings with a Sitar pick. Alan Merrill (“I Love Rock & Roll”) then formed, with Carl Peachman, Water Tower West. (Both Alans are still friends and rockers.)
1969: (Tim Hardin) Met, and began playing with, folk songmaster, Tim Hardin, accompanying him on the July 1969 Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park on a co-bill with Joni Mitchell
1969–1975: Meets Adam Miller (who penned the song for Helen Reddy, “West Wind Circus”, and was a staff songwriter for Wes Farrell); plays out, and records. Recorded “John Wilkes” with Adam on Westwind Circus, Chelsea records
1971: JABLAC “Jazz-Rock Fusion Band” with Chip White, drums; Calvin Hill, bass; Les Lumley, congas; and Bill Chelf, keyboards.
1971: (“EL JIMS” Soul Band) USO Tour to Greenland with Jim Garrett, bassist for the Supremes
1971–Present: (Garland Jeffreys) Began long-term relationship with GJ and teamed as a duo as he landed first (Atlantic) record deal. in 1973. Tours, as a duo, included opening for Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and Jimmy Cliff’s, “Harder They Come.” Performed, arranged, and recorded 1971 to the present on at least ten albums on Atlantic, Arista, A&M, Epic, Sony, BMG.
1972: (Larry Johnson) Intermittent gigs with ragtime bluesman, Larry Johnson (Rev. Gary Davis protege)
1972–75: (Bev Grant “The Human Condition”) Met and accompanied social & political folk-rock artist Bev Grant. Performed on “Hard Times”.
1973: Garland Jeffreys Atlantic Records Debut; Recording/Arranging
1973: (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee) Shared bill at Bitter End
1973–5: Doris Abrahams — Guitar accompaniment for singer-songwriter Doris Abrahams on the road and in the NYC clubs
1974: Garland Jeffreys, “Wild in the Streets” Single; Record with Dr. John’s band
1974: (Bob Dylan & Bob Newirth & Patti Smith) Played historic jam event at Bitter End with Dylan when he was forming the Rolling Thunder Review
1977: Back up guitar for the English singer-songwritrer, Bridget St. John, at the legendary Kenny’s Castaway on Bleecker Street. Side note: the opening act for Bridget was Steve Forbert who scored a major review in the NYT on his arrival to the Big Apple.
1977: Elizabeth Corrigan, Maryland, singer-songwriter. “Elizabeth” at Max’s
1976: Big Jae Mason Singer/country blues – Village appearances
1976–77: Ghost Writer Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
1977: Lynn Kellogg “Southeast Sundown Tour” — Duo opening for Gordon Lightfoot
1977: (Steve Forbert) While playing on the Village scene, met Steve on his “arrival.” Plays on Jack Rabbit Slim—“Complications”
1977: The Freed-Man Band Trio with Tony Mercandante, bass & vocals, (Street Kid & Chip Taylor), and Winston Grennan, the original Jamaican drummer (Toots & the Maytells and Jimmy Cliff–The Harder They Come).
1978: Formed The Provincetown Radiators
1979: American Boy & Girl Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
1980s: Formed bands: Rockin, Reggae Rollers; The Thangs; American Heirs
1981: Escape Artist Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
1983: Guts for Love Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging/Associate Producer
1985–1993: Formed The Troubleshooters, a major project, with Ed Watkins. Played out in East Village circuit: CBGBs, Pyramid, Tramps, Lonestar, Bowery, etc.
1987: Released ‘45 single “Cry Lament for Brian Jones” / “Mary High School” (available on request).
1992: Don’t Call Me Buckwheat Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
1997: Wildlife Dictionary Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
2006: Garland Jeffreys Duo Tour Italy, Paris, Brussels
2007: Garland Jeffreys Duo Tour England
2010: Max’s Kansas City Benefit event Bowery Ballroom with Garland Jeffreys and Lou Reed
2011: The King of In Between Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
2012: Rubin Museum “Naked Soul” NYC duo with Garland Jeffreys
2016: Passim’s Cambridge, MA / Longfellows Portland, ME — Garland Jeffreys Power Trio
2017: 14 Steps to Harlem Garland Jeffreys Recording/Arranging
2018: Records and releases first solo album release: Eco-Evolution