David Grisman

One of the great, eccentric characters to come out of the New York Greenwich Village scene and the American folk music revival of the early 1960s, mandolin player David Grisman mixed together bluegrass, jazz and country into an improvised, rootsy sound that his good friend Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead dubbed 'dawg music'. The son of a professional trombonist, Grisman grew up in a fairly straight-laced family in New Jersey but after his father died when he was ten, he found an outlet in early rock & roll and the popular folk-pop of the Kingston Trio. Forming his own folk club when he was in high school, he abandoned the piano and turned instead to the mandolin after befriending folklorist Ralph Rinzler. He soon discovered country-bluegrass stars like Doc Watson and Bill Monroe and hung out with the artists, musicians, protesters and eccentrics who gathered in New York's Washington Square Park. From playing his first gigs with Maria Muldaur at an Italian restaurant, he learned from mandolin player Frank Wakefield and joined Stefan Grossman's Even Dozen Jug Band before recording his debut album 'Early Dawg' with Del McCoury in 1966. Other musical adventures included the psychedelic rock act Earth Opera, bluegrass ensemble Old and in the Way and supergroup Muleskinner; but it wasn't until the late 1970s that he established his own band and started releasing albums 'The David Grisman Quintet', 'Hot Dawg' and 'Quintet '80'. His unique style was also influenced by the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt and contemporary classical composers, and during an extraordinary career he worked with artists as diverse as The Grateful Dead, violinist Stephane Grappelli, slide guitarist Bonnie Raitt and Italian singer Beppe Gambetta. Despite consistently positioning himself outside of the mainstream music industry, he became a prolific recording artist, regularly releasing albums for over 50 years, many of them through his own label Acoustic Disc. In the 1990s he teamed up with his old pal Jerry Garcia on 'Not for Kids Only' and 'So What' and with his hero Doc Watson on 'Doc & Dawg'. In more recent years he reformed his early band Old and in the Way and performed live with DGBX (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience). In 2017 he proved he was still on top of his game, collaborating with fast-fingered guitarist Tony Emmanuel on the acclaimed album 'Pickin'.

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