Gregg Allman remembered with musical jam at Big House

Gregg Allman's longtime manager Michael Lehman and Allman's best friend, Chank Middleton, remember Allman in front of The Big House in Macon. (Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Gregg Allman's longtime manager Michael Lehman and Allman's best friend, Chank Middleton, remember Allman in front of The Big House in Macon. (Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A few hours after Gregg Allman was buried Saturday at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, a "Mountain Jam" of sorts took place a couple of miles away at The Allman Brothers Band mecca – the Big House.

For about four hours, musicians -- including ABB drummer Jaimoe Johanson, guitarist Scott Sharrard (Allman’s music director), bassist Berry Oakley Jr. (son of ABB’s Berry Oakley, who died in 1972 and is buried next to Duane Allman and now, Gregg), percussionist Mark Quiñones (who played for years with both ABB and in Allman’s solo band) and others -- performed on an outdoor stage at the official Allman Brothers Band museum.

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“They all played for Gregg,” Allman’s manager, Michael Lehman, said Sunday afternoon. “It was a true celebration of his music and his legacy.”

Among the musical selections were, naturally, many Allman Brothers Band songs.

Ironically, Allman had been scheduled to perform Saturday night at the Grand Old Opera House, about 2 miles from the fabled museum, before health issues forced him to cancel all of his tour dates earlier this year.

While only close friends and family were allowed inside for the festivities – mostly the 150-ish who attended Allman’s private funeral ceremony Saturday afternoon at Snow’s Memorial Chapel, plus about 50 additional well-wishers – fans once again showed their allegiance to the Allman name and celebrated outside the Big House as the music played.

On Saturday afternoon, thousands of the Southern rock disciples lined Riverside Drive to watch the motorcade to Rose Hill and clamored around tombstones inside the cemetery to view the brief burial ceremony.

“The family felt so loved” by the turnout, Lehman said. “Gregg was a special person. He penetrated a lot of people’s souls.”