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Dawg Duos

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Album Review

With Dawg Duos, David Grisman presents an album of duos with a variety of acclaimed musicians, including Indian classical percussionist Zakir Hussain, the New Lost City Ramblers' Mike Seeger, and Edgar Meyer and Béla Fleck, genre-crossers who are nonetheless well-known to modern bluegrass fans. These accomplished musicians bring complex techniques and impressive virtuosity, and turn it all into enjoyable bluegrass music with a simple, relaxed feel. The music is pretty, in much the same way that Bill Frisell's Good Dog, Happy Man is. There are tunes that pour world music into the bluegrass vocabulary, such as "New Deli Duo," a tune Grisman describes as the closest he'll probably come to playing a raga; the duo with Bob Brozman, "Trinidadian Rag"; and the somewhat gypsy feel and klezmer moments in "Clinch Mountain Windmills," a piece melding Ralph Stanley's "Clinch Mountain Backstep" and Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind" (from The Thomas Crown Affair). There are moments of liteness — such as with the mall-music-like quietude of Grisman's duo with Denny Zeitlin — but too few to detract from the fact that this is an album modern bluegrass fans will find well worth having. Overall, an airy, light-pickin' album with a peaceful center.


Born: March 23, 1945 in Hackensack, NJ

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

David Grisman is normally associated with the bluegrass wing of country music, but his music owes almost as much to jazz as it does to traditional American folk influences. Because he couldn't think of what to call his unique, highly intricate, harmonically advanced hybrid of acoustic bluegrass, folk, and jazz without leaning toward one idiom or another, he offhandedly decided to call it "dawg music" -- a name which, curiously enough, has stuck. A brilliant mandolinist, with roots deep in the Quintet...
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Dawg Duos, David Grisman
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