Merl Saunders (February 14, 1934 – October 24, 2008) was an American multi-genre musician who played piano and keyboards, favoring the Hammond B-3 console organ.
Born in San Mateo, California, Saunders gained notice in the 1970s when he began collaborating with Jerry Garcia, with the Grateful Dead and with Garcia’s bands The Legion of Mary and Reconstruction.
Death of Merl Saunders
Merl Saunders died in San Francisco, California on the morning of October 24, 2008, after fighting infections as a result of complications related to the stroke which he suffered in 2002. Merl Saunders was 74 years old at the time of his death.
He led his own bands, as Merl Saunders and Friends, playing live dates with Garcia, as well as Mike Bloomfield, David Grisman, Tom Fogerty, Vassar Clements, Kenneth Nash, John Kahn and Sheila E.
He has worked with musicians Paul Pena, Bonnie Raitt, Phish, Miles Davis, and B. B. King. Merl also recorded with The Dinosaurs, a "supergroup" of first-generation Bay Area rock musicians.