The nearly hour-long instrumental interplay on Infrared Roses (1991) came from a variety of concert performance excerpts circa 1989 and 1990. The audio was reconfigured and combined into four distinct multi-movement suites -- all of which were named by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Opening the disc is the audience-participating "Crowd Sculpture," setting the communal pre-show scene with a mélange of sonic experiences starring the typical Grateful Dead parking lot denizens doing their respective thing. The roar of the expectant audience then leads into "Parallelogram" the first of several rhythm-intensive selections with Mickey Hart (trap drums/timbales/electronic percussion/toms/synthesizer) and Bill Kreutzmann (trap drums/beast/beam/electronic percussion/talking drum) at the helm. These excursions typically occurred during the second set and were followed by a few minutes of free-form exchanges from the band's co-founders Jerry Garcia (guitar/electronic percussion/synthesizer), Phil Lesh (bass/synthesizer), and Bob Weir (guitar/midi guitar/synthesizer). Through July of 1990, Brent Mydland (keyboards/Midi keyboard/synthesizer) was the primary ivory tickler. After his untimely passing, Vince Welnick (synthesizer) and (for a brief time) Bruce Hornsby (piano/synthesizer) were Mydland's replacements. Additionally, Bob Bralove -- the CD's producer and one of the Grateful Dead's longtime audio engineers -- is credited with electronic drumming. There are also appearances by the Neville Brothers' Willie Green III (kick/snare/hi hat) who submits a well-placed beat or two to "Post-Modern Highrise Table Top Stomp" from his December 28, 1990 guest shot. Branford Marsalis (tenor sax/soprano sax) is heard blowing strong counterpoint during the closer "Apollo at the Ritz." His contributions come from a March 29, 1990 confab in which Marsalis sat in for most of the second set. Caveat Emptor as Infrared Roses isn't a typical live Grateful Dead recording and potential consumers should not expect such. However, there is plenty for the adventurous listener, Deadheads longing for a good ol' "Drums/Space" freak-out, and even parties curious about the remarkable stylistic breadth that became a motif of the Grateful Dead's concerts for three decades.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer