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New River

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 26, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Although many people think of mandolinist David Grisman as a bluegrass musician, most of his recorded output has actually contained more jazz than any other style. On New River, a collection of duets with pianist Denny Zeitlin, Grisman forgoes even a hint of the high lonesome sound in favor of a series of original compositions that blend elements of Latin music, cool West Coast jazz, and blues into an intriguing, impressionistic mix. In many of his other groupings Grisman tends to play at a very brisk tempo, but on tracks such as "New River" Zeitlin's sustained chords and meditative rhythms cause him to slow down and leave more space between his notes than he has in the past. Even on livelier tracks such as "Dawg Funk" and "On the March" the focus from both musicians is on taste and tone, rather than instrumental pyrotechnics. Here, Grisman shows that even after decades of experimentation he is not finished taking the mandolin into unexpected musical territories. And on this particular journey, he has chosen a worthy companion in Zeitlin. --Michael Simmons
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Acoustic Disc
  • ASIN: B00005J72J
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,475 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Bruce Crocker on August 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
New River shouldn't suprise David Grisman fans - we KNOW that the Dawg is more than bluegrass, but it might suprise people who have avoided Dawg because of his bluegrass roots. New River is an hour of jazzy duets between David Grisman on mandolin and Denny Zeitlin, veteran jazzman, on piano. The two play each others original compositions and one that they cowrote. I don't want to label the sound too much, because I want you to have a listen and make up your own mind, but the music on New River shares a place in the same musical universe with the jazzier work of Bela Fleck. I enjoy the interplay of the two instruments on this album and I know I'll be taking the journey down New River many times in the future.
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This album will surely delight both jazz and neo-bluegrass fans, as it brings pianist Denny Zeitlin and mandolinist David Grisman together for some sparkling improvisations. The contrasting timbre of the deep piano and the soprano plucking work beautifully. Zeitlin respectfully emphasizes the lower register. Some Dawg riffs are present, of course, but Zeitlin's trademark chords and rhythmic bass line brings extra spark. Did I say fun? No? Well, it IS fun. These two artists are meshed in relaxed, creative spirit. From brightness and funk to profound, sensitive balladic explorations, the music is thoroughly joyous and interesting. Though song credits are given to one or the other, except for the blues of track 7, there can be no doubt that the finished works are a collaboration. The longest track is Zeitlin's march, where the dual stretch into unknown regions, but the final track, Fourteen Miles to Barstow (a Mojave desert area town) is truly into the musical hinterlands. Here is 57 minutes of splendid, well-engineered jazz on Grisman's Acoustic Disc label.
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New River shouldn't suprise Denny Zeitlin fans either - we KNOW that the pianist has conquered many different styles of music and particularly JAZZ! He composed a major movie soundtrack,Invasion of the Body Snatchers, played acoustic to electronic and mastered the DUO format which is displayed here. New River is an hour of jazzy duets(ie. creative improv) between David Grisman on mandolin and Denny Zeitlin, on piano. Denny Zeitlin has also displayed his solo piano skills on Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 27; Homecoming; Solo Voyage. Denny Zeitlin has also displayed his piano skills in a trio format on Denny Zeitlin Trio in Concert Featuring; Trio; Slickrock. Denny Zeitlin has also displayed his piano skills in another DUO format, with David Freisen on an acoustic double bass, Live at Jazz Bakery; Concord Duo Series, Vol. 8;In Concert. All of Denny Zeitlin's CDs are highly recommended!
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