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Grateful Dawg by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman

Long before "fusion" became a much used (and abused) marketing term, many musicians sought a mix/combination/amalgam/whatever with jazz although they didn’t start from the "jazz side" of the equation. The late Jerry Garcia started out as an exponent of old-timey/bluegrass music but then absorbed jazz, blues, rock & roll, country and free improvisation as the most famous member of the Grateful Dead. David "Dawg" Grisman had a similar background - a rock band in the 60s, Earth Opera and parallel careers in both bluegrass and newgrass, a form that he pretty much brought into existence by playing jazz (from swing to post-bop) with bluegrass instrumentation and tossing world music into the mix. The recent film "Grateful Dawg" is a documentary chronicling the on-and-off collaborations of these two friends who influenced the course of Western music and each other. Whether you’re A Fan or not, this disc of the film’s soundtrack contains some primo examples of classic fusion of the acoustic variety. Jazz snobs, be warned: some tracks definitely are indeed traditional bluegrass or folk, though most are their patent-pending string-jazz-world fusion. High points include the modal travelogue "Arabia" and the swinging title track, both singular examples of two musicians bringing the sum total of their cultural experiences to bring exciting, category-defying and engaging music to life.... and isn’t that the true conception of fusion, anyway?

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
  • CD Title: Grateful Dawg
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Acoustic Disc
  • Musicians: Jerry Garcia: acoustic guitar, vocals; David Grisman: mandolin; Vassar Clements: fiddle.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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