David Grisman Quintet 1.26.18
Alberta Rose Theatre
Words by Elana Eisenberg
Photos by Coleman Schwartz Media
David Grisman, known widely as the Dawg, has been working on his signature style of music for upwards of 40 years. In this time, the band has seen a rotating cast of musicians, but since 2007 the quintet has kept a stable lineup. At its core, “Dawg Music” is a refreshing mix of traditional bluegrass instruments creating a jazz sound. Grisman has created albums with heavy influence from the 1930’s era of swing, such as “Svingin’ with Svend.” The quintet played the title track as an ode to collaborator and friend, Svend Asmussen, who passed shortly before his 101st birthday last February. Other albums stretch many subgenres such as latin, newgrass, americana, jazz, progressive bluegrass, and many more.
They started the night with the first song off of the first album, E.M.D. The song featured a solo from each member of the quintet. Powerful cheers came from the crowd after each member showed their colors. A personal highlight was when Matt Eakle gave us a rousing solo on his bass flute. A bass flute is a flute pitched just one octave below the concert flute in the key of C. Eakle has such an exuberant stage presence, you can’t help but be enticed.
The band found its latin roots in "Tracy’s Tune," a song Grisman wrote for his wife, Tracy, who spent the night working their merch booth. Grisman shared many stories throughout the show, but the one I found most interesting was "Horn Pipe Dream." As Grisman divulged, this song came to him in a dream, and the whole dream he kept repeating to himself, “I need to remember this tune!” The song features a nice call and response theme with mimicking patterns on each instrument. Grisman is well known for his time playing with Jerry Garcia. Paying tribute to his old friend, the quintet played both "Grateful Dawg" and "Dawg’s Waltz."
Coleman’s Photo Gallery
Setlist: E.M.D., Hot Dawg, Mad Max, Tracy’s Tune, Horn Pipe Dream, Grateful Dawg, Standing Rock, Svingin’ with Svend, Newly Wedding, Zoro’s Last Ride, Dawg’s Waltz, The Paper Townsend Blues
Encore: Blue Dawg