David Grisman Quintet

Nicknames are funny things. They’re hardly ever endearing — that is, unless you happen to be a shaggy-haired, fat, bearded mandolin virtuoso with a hankering for taking any musical style you can get your hands on and twisting it around your instrument until it fits like a glove. In that case, a name like David “Dawg” Grisman just makes sense. Having begun his musical career as a Bill Monroe acolyte, Grisman quickly turned to exploring and exploiting other genres on his way to redefining the modern sound of the mandolin. Nearly 40 years down the road, he continues to defy categorization, preferring instead to refer to his eclectic mix of jazz, folk, bluegrass, swing and Latin sounds as “dawg music.” It may be an unfortunate-sounding tag, but Grisman could have had it worse, especially when you consider the nickname’s source: Jerry “Spud Boy” Garcia.

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