Pharoah Sanders, Miles From India, Bobby Previte, Marcia Ball, Whitetree & David Grisman
The David Grisman Quintet
B.B. King Blues Club
June 3, 2009
Mandolin man Grisman's band has a jazz configuration, but his prime genre has always been bluegrass. Possibly. Even though old-time picking can't help but inform every note of his set, the repertoire isn't exactly either form, and manages to ensnare elements from a variety of rootsy sources, ending up with what Grisman has (for almost four decades) been terming dawg music. Indeed, his website is www.dawgnet.com. The last time Grisman played at B.B.'s, the tunes felt more ingrained with the bluegrass spirit, but on this visit he's definitely out there, dodging between the categories. Even though there's no shortage of dexterously pinging mandolin solos, the multi-flute mastery of Matt Eakle is a major part of the sound, his hard-edged, percussive approach side-stepping all of the usual jazz cliches that have been established for his instrument (let that bass flute belch!). The quintet has been together for over thirty years, but Grisman jokes that he's the only original member. Even so, the current model has already built up a heady rapport (though bassist Jim Kerwin has been with Grisman for around two of those decades). It's a show with humor, dash and virtuosity, an exhilarating adventure into musical miscegenation.