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This set features two eclectic Californians, mandolinist David Grisman and pianist Denny Zeitlin, in a lively and unusual duo setting. The contrast between mandolin and piano couldn’t be greater, of course. Zeitlin’s orchestral playing, with its expansive timbral range and resonating low end, does most of the heavy lifting. Grisman’s instrument has its inherent limitations — tiny neck, circumscribed harmonic capacity, somewhat tinny sound. But Grisman is a master at wringing the unexpected from those eight strings. Not only does he display unparalleled virtuosity and melodic resourcefulness; he also responds to Zeitlin with just the right sonic touches, comping jazz-style on "Blue Midnite" and creating ethereal pick-slide effects on the mini-epic "On the March." The program is evenly split between Zeitlin’s originals and Grisman’s; the loose minor-key "DG/DZ Blues" is co-written. Following the invigorating, Gershwin-meets-bluegrass finale, "Fourteen Miles to Barstow," Grisman and Zeitlin keep the tape rolling for some brief free-improv, a hidden track. Throughout the session, Grisman brings out the new-acoustic, Americana side of Zeitlin, while Zeitlin brings out the jazz in Grisman. The result is music that is refreshingly beyond category.
Track Listing: 1. Brazilian Street Dance 2. Dawg Funk 3. Moving Parts 4. Blue Midnite 5. New River 6. Waltz for Gigi 7. DG/DZ Blues 8. On the March 9. Fourteen Miles to Barstow
Personnel: David Grisman, mandolin; Denny Zeitlin, piano
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.