The last time the Dead ever had the courage to really experiment was this on album, the fruit of their year-long hiatus from touring.
It has a particular jazz-rock feel characterised by the fertile mix of effects pedals from Garcia meeting some memorable electric piano from Keith Godchaux. The album is self-confident, tender, funny, and sparkles in a very un-Dead-like way. A lot of it is laughing music.
Stand-out tracks are the lithe Franklin's tower, the melancholy Crazy Fingers - with Garcia's best ever recorded solo, a beautiful unstated Zen sequence to really contemplate - and the long, atmospheric Blues for Allah.
The album, of course, got lost pretty quickly. it was never a commercial smash and the Dead never cut quite such intelligent music again. But, for once, in some mysterious way, they seemed ahead of the pack, not a plodding note in sight (or sound). This is vital! Buy it!