Saturday, June 18, 2005

Music: Dawg Music

Image Hosted by One of my favorite musicians, without question, has to be David Grisman. Grisman, whose nickname is "Dawg", is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, mandolin players alive. His unique style of music, blending bluegrass with the type of old-time European gypsy jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, brings a revitalizing jolt to the world of acoustic music through the swinging improvisation that was often lacking in genres such as bluegrass.

1977 was the year that his quintet released their first album, which contains ten fine examples of what Dawg music is all about. The quintet, featuring Tony Rice on guitar, Darol Anger on violin and mandolin, Todd Phillips on mandolin and Bill Amatneek on bass, created delightfully weird tunes that make this album a joy to listen to from start to finish. Here are a couple of enjoyable examples to check out:

ALBUM: The David Grisman Quintet (1977, Rhino)
The David Grisman Quintet - Richochet
The David Grisman Quintet - Dawg's Rag

Grisman had the opportunity to perform with one of his major influences a couple of years later as Stephane Grappelli developed an interest to his music. Some live material was recorded during this time, leading to the release of an incredible album years later simply titled Live. The level of musicianship on this album is absolutely stunning, making it sure to appeal to people with varying tastes in music. Joining Grappelli and Grisman on this recording are Mike Marshall on mandolin and guitar, Mark O'Connor on guitar and violin, Rob Wasserman on bass and Tiny Moore on electric mandolin. The following delectable downloads are my two favorites tracks on this album, especially the gypsy medley which concludes the recording:

ALBUM: Live (1994, Warner Bros.)
Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman - Pent-Up House
Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman - Medley: Tzigani/Fisztorza/Fulginiti

One of Grisman's closest friends and frequent collaborators was the late Jerry Garcia. They released a number of albums together, one of which is a delightful collection of old-time folk music that'll grab the attention of both young and old called Not For Kids Only. This 1993 release features a number of guest musicians adding a pleasant flavor to the tunes. This album contains songs with lyrics that are both humorous and full of heart, providing a change of pace from the mostly instrumental work that Grisman is known for.

ALBUM: Not For Kids Only (1993, Acoustic Disc)
Jerry Garcia/David Grisman - There Ain't No Bugs on Me

I'll wrap up this musical installment with a taste of live Garcia and Grisman that shows off the incredible instrumental work that defined their time together. The name of this piece is "Arabia", and it provides an example of how diverse their influences are as they incorporate an Eastern style to their music. This is from an unreleased live recording of their August 25, 1991 performance in Squaw Valley, California:

Garcia & Grisman - Arabia pt.1
Garcia & Grisman - Arabia pt.2


Blogger etnobofin said...

Cool! I can't quite tell where the Celtic and bluegrass and Django and Lebanese oud begin and end. Very nice indeed.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you havent seen it, Grateful Dawg is an excellent documentary showcasing the collaboration betweein Garcia & Grisman. The DVD has some fantastic extra features and the sound quality is pristine.

8:36 AM  
Blogger born to run said...

be sure to check out the collaborations with jerry garcia.

11:02 PM  

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