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Mike Marshall & Chris Thile: Into the Cauldron (2003)

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Mike Marshall & Chris Thile: Into the Cauldron No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

While this recording has Mike Marshall’s name on it—and he was an instrumental member of David Grisman’s quartet—the presence of Chris Thile makes Into the Cauldron somewhat of an event. And what an event it is. Recordings like this smack of a single element—virtuosity. Here are two mandolin masters showing off in a duet style using vehicles ranging from Bach’s Goldberg Variations to Charlie Parker’s "Scrapple From the Apple." The quality of the playing makes it sound alien or divinely inspired. The two mandolinists choose a wide variety of musical genres to make their point. Beautiful the Brazilian Baroque "Desvairada" and lyrical "The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers." Lest one thinks the disc devoid of hoe- downs, one must look no further than "Fisher’s Hornpipe."



Of the originals, "Stranded in Kodiac" is the most superb, finding Marshall playing the mandocello. Both players employ string damping to great effect to make this an exciting moment. The disc closes with a harmonic "Shamrock Shore," a piece that shows an clear but unintuitive link between American bluegrass music and traditional Irish music. Into the Cauldron is a beautiful recording—even if these two masters are showing off. More power to them.



Visit Sugar Hill Records , Mike Marshall , and Chris Thile on the web.


Track Listing: Harvest Time; Desvairada; Bach

Personnel: Mike Marshall

Record Label: Sugar Hill Records

Style: Beyond Jazz


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