If there were ever two musicians destined to play together, it is Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. Having collaborated for over 30 years, they have something of a psychic connection when it comes to music. They share an aesthetic approach to music, drawing upon a myriad of styles from classical to jazz to rock to bluegrass to world music, and a similar sense of humor and dawged punstery. They anticipate each others’ moves. In their hands, mandolin and fiddle become two voices engaged in a dialogue. Though not as deep as Statman, as spacious as Phillips or Wasserman, or as bouncy as Barenberg, they have a grace and comprehensive vision that unites the rests and notes of a hundred different musical whims, drawing them together into a playful and surprising presence. More than anyone besides perhaps David Grisman (and perhaps more than him), they have defined the sound of New Acoustic music. I saw the duo perform with Väsen last summer. Every single person in the audience was a musician. Need I say more?
Violinist Darol Anger has made his mark on new acoustic music with a number of different groups.
From 1975-84, Anger was a key member of new-acoustic pioneers the David Grisman Quintet, whose blend of folk, bluegrass, and jazz virtually defined the new acoustic genre, as well as advancing the harmonic and instrumental frontiers of traditional musics; as a member of the Turtle Island String Quartet in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Anger also helped bring virtuosic improvisation and boundless eclecticism to what had been an essentially classical, strictly composed musical format. Additionally, Anger co-founded the Montreux Band, a folk- and jazz-influenced group which recorded for Windham Hill in the mid- to late ’80s and had an impact on the formation of so-called New Adult Contemporary radio, and with Grisman alumnus Mike Marshall founded the progressive bluegrass outfit Psychograss, which carried on the eclectic Grisman tradition in the 1990s. Again teaming up with Marshall in the late ’90s, Anger co-founded the Anger/Marshall Band, which kept him busy into the 2000s alongside his work on the Heritage Folk Music project, his continued appearances with his previous groups, his founding of the American Fiddle Ensemble, and his work as a producer and arranger for other artists.
Mike Marshall is one of the most innovative players of new instrumental music. Initially rooted in bluegrass, Marshall has consistently explored all the possibilities of his stringed instruments. During the five years (1985-1990) that he was a member of David Grisman’s influential Quintet, Marshall toured with Stephane Grappelli, Mark O’Connor, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and fellow Grisman band member Darol Anger. Following his departure from Grisman’s group, Marshall continued to work with fiddler Anger as a duo and, along with pianist Barbara Higbie and bassist Michael Manring, in a folk/chamber music group, Montreux. Marshall and Anger also collaborated, along with bassist Todd Phillips, banjo player Tony Trischka and guitarist David Grier, in a bluegrass/jazz/classical/folk group, Psychograss. Marshall currently leads the Modern Mandolin Quartet and plays Brazilian music with Choro Famoso. Marshall also periodically collaborates with Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor and Sam Bush in a bluegrass superband, Strength By Numbers. Marshall has produced numerous albums including recordings by Laurie Lewis, Alison Brown, Jennifer Berezan and Tony Furtado.
A native of Pennsylvania, Marshall grew up in Lakeland, Florida. At the age of 18, he won the Florida state fiddle and mandolin championships. After performing with the Sunshine Bluegrass Boys, Marshall relocated to the West Coast. Soon after working with Grisman on the film score of The King of the Gypsies in 1985, Marshall was invited to join Grisman’s Quintet.
Marshall has recorded two solo albums — 1989’s Gator Strut, which spotlighted his jazz-meets-bluegrass approach, and 1997’s Brasil: Duets, which focused on the Brazilian influences on his music and featured duets with Edgar Meyer, Michael Manring and Bela Fleck. In 2003, Marshall teamed up with mandolinist Chris Thile to release Into the Cauldron, a fine record of duets between the two exploring everything from classical and traditional music to conteporary numbers written with each other.
Label: Kaleidoscope F8
Review by Wilson McCloy
Fiddlistics includes an all-star cast of new-grass musicians, and in many ways it is a continuation of the excellent David Grisman Quintet album. In fact, there is a slowed-down version of the composition “Blue Midnight” which first appeared on the innovative Grisman album, and the new-grass suite “Megatones” could easily have been from that session. However, the uniqueness of this album stems from its eclecticism. Anger and mandolin legend Tiny Moore joyfully swing through Charlie Parker’s “Moose the Mooche,” and Anger takes two duets: one quiet and meditative with pianist Barbara Higbie, and the other a traditional bluegrass romp, at first, which slowly becomes more progressive with George Stavis on banjo. Fans of the David Grisman Quintet, Mike Marshall, Tony Rice, or any of the other participating musicians will not be disappointed because this album is well-worth searching for.
1 Key Signator
2 Blue Midnight
3 Old Grey Coat
4 Moose the Mooche
5 Ride the Wild Turkey
6 Dysentery Stomp
7 Brann St. Sonata
8 Old Folkies
vinyl, cleaned | mp3 ~224kbps vbr | w/o cover
Review by Ken Dryden
Mike Marshall is much like Mark O’Connor, a virtuoso on several string instruments, an innovative composer and arranger who refuses to be pigeonholed stylistically, and also an alum of David Grisman’s band. Numerous Grisman alumni turn up on this 1984 release, including violinist Darol Anger, bassists Todd Phillips and Rob Wasserman, guitarist Tony Rice, and even Grisman himself, along with dobro player Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck on banjo, violinist David Balikrishan (who would later co-found the Turtle Island String Quartet with Anger), and pianist Barbara Higbie. Marshall sticks primarily to mandolin on this mostly progressive bluegrass date, though he’s also heard on mandola, mandocello, violin, and guitar. Highlights include the funky original “Gator Strut,” “Ravel” (a solo effort featuring the leader overdubbed on several instruments while adapting a theme by the French Impressionist composer), a joint arrangement with Anger of John Coltrane’s infrequently performed “Giant Hornpipe,” and a brilliant interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight.”
In the mood for something a bit unique, random, diverse, spontaneous, and interesting? If so, then check out Mike Marshall’s Gator Strut with Darol Anger and featuring artists like David Grisman on mandolin, Bela Fleck on banjo, and Tony Rice on guitar.
The all-star group travels around music history ranging from classical composers like Ravel and Bach to Jazz masters like Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. They even stop in pop land on one of my all-time favorite Beatles numbers like Because. There are other songs here specifically written by Marshall, who plays mandolin, mandocello, guitar and sometimes violin, while in most cases Darol Anger is on violin or low violin. There are some other talented artists involved as well such as Rob Wasserman on bass, Mike Wollenberg on guitar, Barbara Higbie on synthesizer, Jerry Douglas on dobro, and Todd Philips on bass. With a stack of individuals like this, a vast accompaniment of instruments, and a unique selects of material, this particular recording is unlike any other out there.
1 Dance of the Planktons – Marshall – 3:32
2 We Three – Marshall – 4:43
3 Gator Strut – Marshall – 6:07
4 Chief Sitting in the Rain – Traditional – 3:23
5 Assez Vif-Tres Rythme -1:50
6 Giant Hornpipe – Coltrane – 2:41
7 Because – Lennon, McCartney – 2:55
8 Scotch & Swing – Marshall – 3:42
9 Bach Partita No. 3 in E Major for Solo Violin – Public Domain – 4:08
10 Ybor City – Marshall – 3:52
11 ‘Round Midnight – Hanighen, Monk, Williams – 5:02
12 Gator’s Dream – Marshall – 7:37
13 Wake Up – Marshall – 4:01
14 We Three (Reprise) – Marshall – 1:03
mp3 320kbps | w/ small cover
Review by Linda Kohanov
Violinist Darol Anger and mandolinist Mike Marshall were pioneers of the New Acoustic Music movement, which brought folk, jazz, bluegrass and world music influences together in an instrumental acoustic setting. Here is their groundbreaking 1983 album The Duo, which highlights their virtuosity, creativity and humor in a wide-ranging selection of breathtaking duets. Darol Anger and Mike Marshall were snatched up by Windham Hill soon after this early Rounder release.
1 Rotagilla – Anger, Marshall – 3:52
2 Lime Rock – Traditional – 2:20
3 Children’s Song #6 – Corea – 2:53
4 Golden Slippers – Traditional – 3:35
5 N.K.F. – Marshall – 4:01
6 Wall of Mando Madness – Marshall – 3:47
7 Donna Lee – Parker – 2:24
8 Free D – Marshall – 4:08
9 Bach Partita #3 in E Major for Solo Violin – Bach – 4:07
10 It’s Dark – Anger, Marshall – 5:25
11 Gator’s Dream – Marshall – 7:37
the duo duel.
mp3 ~224kbps vbr | w/ cover?
if anybody wants to help a pirate out and has any of these albums, do let him know:
Mike Marshall & Jovino Santos Neto – Serenata: The Music of Hermeto Pascoal
Modern Mandolin Quartet – Interplay
Darol Anger/David Balakrishnan/Matt Glaser – Jazz Violin Celebration
Montreaux – Sign Language
Montreaux – Let them Say
Turtle Island String Quartet – Metropolis
Turtle Island String Quartet – A Shock to the System
Turtle Island String Quartet – By the Fireside
Turtle Island String Quartet – Caito Marcondes
Turtle Island String Quartet – Art of the Groove
Turtle Island String Quartet – Danzon