Armed with a new album and a stellar bluegrass catalog to pull from, the all-star Dawg Trio made beautiful music at the storied Iridium Jazz Club in midtown Manhattan. The evening included plenty of intricate songs, a special guest on the “mouth trumpet,” and a cover last played with Jerry Garcia.
The band was led by legendary musician, composer, archivist and frequent Jerry Garcia collaborator, David Grisman on mandolin and vocals. Mr. Grisman was joined by a Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Award-winner Danny Barnes on banjo, guitar and vocals. Grisman’s son, Sam Grisman, completed the trifecta on the upright bass and vocals.
Grisman began the evening with light hearted humor, asking the crowd, “Does anyone own CD’s anymore?” The band released a new album in October, appropriately titled Dawg Trio. He mentioned that they had CDs to sell, but wasn’t sure where they were.
Grammy-nominated Robert Gurland joined the party during the set, playing one song with his “mouth trumpet.” This impressive skill requires no instruments and sounds very similar to an actual trumpet. His skill and adeptness are reminiscent of Keller Williams, who uses this technique in his solo shows. The entire band was all smiles while Gurland was on stage, and throughout the show.
Sam Grisman took the helm during “Zadeh’s Waltz” from Dawg Trio. He also filled big shoes by singing Jerry Garcia’s part in “When First Unto This Country.” Prior to the song, Grisman announced that the last time he played this song was with Jerry Garcia. Sam’s vocals were a great tribute to the late Garcia, and showed that he looks forward to a promising musical career.
Danny Barnes showed his wild talent throughout the evening, but particularly shined during “Super Grits,” from Dawg Trio. His unconventional and wild approach was refreshing and made for deliciously detailed jams. The show wrapped up with the intricate bluegrass standard “Things In Life,” proving that mandolin juggernaut Grisman still has still “got it” after all these years.