Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Record Labels: Acoustic Disc

David Grisman Quintet: Chili Dawg


Enrique Coria: Milongo del Angel


David Grisman began his musical life playing bluegrass. He was in Old and In The Way with Jerry Garcia. And like Garcia, Grisman had more than just bluegrass in his head. He has never accepted the limits some people might place on what kinds of music you can play on a mandolin, instead ever seeking ways to expand the mandolin’s vocabulary, and seeking out other adventurous musicians to help him do it. By 1979, Grisman was playing a hybrid of bluegrass and jazz, with elements of gypsy music and folk thrown in as well. He called this music “Dawg music”, Dawg being a nickname Garcia had given him that stuck. All through the 1980s, Grisman continued to add in more ingredients to his musical stew, until he arrived at a sound that no record label, big or small, knew how to market.

So, in 1990, David Grisman founded Acoustic Disc. On his own label, there were no limits on the directions his music could take. Now he also had a place to release the music of musicians who inspired him, The first release on Acoustic Disc was by the David Grisman Quintet, and it included Chili Dawg. But from then until now, Acoustic Disc has released a fascinating array of music played on acoustic stringed instruments. Mandolin and guitar players from Latin America are here. So is Jewish music for two mandolins. There is an album of music for kids and others by Garcia and Grisman. The series of albums entitled Tone Poems includes music from Grisman and others that defies attempts at categorization. And Grisman manages to sell enough of all of this to keep the whole thing afloat.

The second tune that I have chosen is by Enrique Coria. Coria is a fine guitarist from Argentina, and a current member of the David Grisman Quintet.

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