David Grisman

David Grisman

born on 23/3/1945 in Hackensack, NJ, United States

David Grisman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
David Grisman
Also known as Dawg
Born March 23 1945
Hackensack, New Jersey U.S.
Genres Bluegrass music, newgrass, folk, jazz, Americana
Occupations Musician, Composer
Instruments Mandolin, mandocello, piano
Labels Elektra Records, Acoustic Disc
Associated acts Even Dozen Jug Band, Old and in the Way
Website Acoustic Disc official website

David Grisman (born March 23, 1945 in Hackensack, New Jersey) is a bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and composer of acoustic music. In the early 1990s, he started the Acoustic Disc record label in an effort to preserve and spread acoustic or instrumental music.


Grisman grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey.[1] He started his musical career in 1963 as a member of Even Dozen Jug Band. His nickname, "Dawg" was affectionately assigned by his close friend Jerry Garcia in 1973 (the two met in 1964 at a Bill Monroe show at Sunset Park in West Grove, PA). "Dawg Music" is what he calls his mixture of bluegrass and Django Reinhardt-Stéphane Grappelli-influenced jazz, as highlighted on his 1977 album "Hot Dawg". Stephane Grappelli played on a couple of tracks on the Hot Dawg album and then the 1981 recording "Stephane Grappelli and David Grisman Live". It was Grisman's combination of Reinhardt-era Jazz, bluegrass, folk, Old World Mediterranean string band music, as well as modern Jazz fusion that came to embody "Dawg" music.

Grisman's father had been a professional trombonist at one time and had young David begin piano lessons at the age of seven. In the early 1950s, Grisman heard the beginnings of rock 'n' roll and was influenced by pop music and everything he heard. Following his father's death, when David was 10, he drifted away from the piano. He took it up again when he was about 13 or 14, soon discovering folk music through the Kingston Trio, a group that became popular during the American folk music revival.

David and three friends from his school then met folklorist and musician Ralph Rinzler in Passaic, New Jersey and became greatly influenced by Rinzler's vast knowledge about traditional music. During this period, Greenwich Village in New York City was already bustling with folk musicians, David realized what he wanted to do with his life. In 1963, Grisman played in the Even Dozen Jug Band, who recorded an album that year on Elektra Records.

Grisman did a Red Allen and Frank Wakefield session for Folkways Records in 1963 but didn't perform with Red Allen and the Kentuckians until 1966. Grisman also recorded the Early Dawg album in 1966, which was a live recording from a show in New York that featured the talents of Del McCoury on guitar and vocals, and Jerry McCoury on bass. The album was not released until 1980. Grisman then played mandocello on Tom Paxton's album "Morning Again" (Elektra, 1967).

In 1967, Grisman was in a psychedelic rock group called Earth Opera with Peter Rowan. In 1973, Grisman joined Rowan, Vassar Clements, Jerry Garcia and John Kahn to form the bluegrass group Old and in the Way. In 1974, Grisman, Rowan, Kahn, and Richard Greene joined Bill Keith, Clarence White, and John Guerin in the group Muleskinner. In 1974, Grisman was also in The Great American Music Band. Then in 1975, he started his own band: the David Grisman Quintet.

Grisman also played mandocello on Bonnie Raitt's album, Sweet Forgiveness (1977). In 1977, the David Grisman Quintet released their first album.

In addition to performing with the DGQ (David Grisman Quintet), David Grisman also performs with his bluegrass group, the DGBX (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience). Other members of the DGBX are Keith Little on banjo, Chad Manning on fiddle, Jim Nunally on guitar and Samson Grisman on upright bass. He has also recorded and album and toured as a duo with John Sebastian.


Some of the musicians that have played with David Grisman, or have been part of the DGQ (David Grisman Quintet), include: Rob Wasserman, Denny Zeitlin, Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan, John Carlini, Mark O'Connor, Béla Fleck, Clarence White, Bob Brozman, Mike Auldridge, Mike Seeger, David Bromberg, Stephane Grappelli, Martin Taylor, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury, Ralph Stanley, Jon Sholle, Earl Scruggs, John Hartford, Jethro Burns, Tiny Moore, Beppe Gambetta, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, Richard Greene, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger (Turtle Island String Quartet), Sam Bush, Pat Barnick, Joe Craven, Bill Amatneek, Todd Phillips, Jim Kerwin, Enrique Coria, Frank Vignola, George Marsh, Matt Eakle, Grant Gordy and the Kronos Quartet.


  • Grisman, along with New Grass Revival are generally considered the modern day interpreters of the new bluegrass-influenced fusion sound, sometimes called newgrass.
  • The documentary Grateful Dawg (2000) chronicles the deep friendship between Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.
  • David Grisman appeared on the Grateful Dead's American Beauty 1970 album. To this day, Grisman complains (jokingly) of how Jerry Garcia vetoed the length of the mandolin part featured on the studio version of "Ripple".
  • "Dawggy Mountain Breakdown" is NPR's Car Talk's theme music.
  • David Grisman sued YouTube in May 2007, complaining in federal court that YouTube should be required to prevent individuals from posting recordings of Grisman's music.[2]
  • Grisman was a judge for the 6th and 7th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists. [3]


  • With Even Dozen Jug Band
    • The Even Dozen Jug Band - 1964
  • With Old and in the Way
    • Old and in the Way 1975
    • That High Lonesome Sound 1996
    • Breakdown 1997
    • Old and in the Gray 2002
  • Garcia & Grisman
    • Garcia/Grisman - 1991
    • Not for Kids Only - 1993
    • Shady Grove - 1996
    • So What - 1998
    • The Pizza Tapes (featuring Tony Rice) 2000
    • Grateful Dawg - 2001
    • Been All Around This World - 2004
  • Solo, with others, and with DGQ (David Grisman Quintet)
    • Soundtrack for Roger Corman's 1976 Film EAT MY DUST starring Ron Howard
    • The David Grisman Rounder Record 1976
    • The David Grisman Quintet - 1977
    • Hot Dawg - 1978
    • Quintet '80 - 1980
    • Early Dawg - 1980 (Recorded Live in New York - 1966)
    • Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman Live - 1981
    • Mondo Mando - 1981
    • Here Today - 1982
    • David Grisman's Acoustic Christmas - 1983
    • Dawg Jazz/Dawg Grass - 1983
    • Mandolin Abstractions [live] - 1983
    • Acousticity - 1985
    • Svingin' with Svend - 1987
    • Home Is Where the Heart Is - 1988
    • Dawg '90 - 1990
    • Bluegrass Reunion - 1992
    • Common Chord - 1993
    • The David Grisman Rounder Compact Disc - 1993
    • Dawgwood - 1993
    • Tone Poems: The Songs Of The Great Vintage Guitars And Mandolins - 1994
    • Songs Of Our Fathers - 1995
    • Dawganova - 1995
    • Tone Poems 2: The Sounds Of The Great Jazz Guitars, Mandolins, Mandolas, Mandocellos - 1995
    • DGQ-20 - 1996
    • Doc & Dawg - 1997
    • I'm Beginning To See The Light - 1999
    • Retrograss - 1999
    • Dawg Duos - 1999
    • Tone Poems 3: The Sounds of the Great Slide & Resophonic Instruments - 2000
    • New River - 2001
    • Traversata [live] - 2001
    • Dawgnation - 2002
    • Life of Sorrow - 2003
    • Hold On We're Strummin' - 2003
    • New Shabbos Waltz - 2006
    • Dawg's Groove [live] - 2006
    • DGBX - 2006
    • Classic Dawg [DVD] [live] - 2006
    • Satisfied - 2007


  1. Lindsey, Caroline. "VETERAN MUSICIAN GRISMAN CONTINUES INNOVATION", Greensboro News & Record, August 14, 2003. Accessed July 5, 2008.
  2. http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_5899836 Contra Costa Times
  3. Independent Music Awards - Past Judges

External links

  • Acoustic Disc official website
  • David Grisman at The Music Box - An extensive collection of reviews
  • Grateful Dawg at The Internet Movie Database
  • Illustrated Even Dozen Jug Band discography
  • Internet Radio Interview w/ David Grisman David talks about his roots in 1960's Greenwich Village and his ideas about acoustic music.
  • Digital Interviews: David Grisman
  • 2008 State of Mind Music Conversation with David Grisman
This page was last modified 01.10.2009 16:31:41

This article uses material from the article David Grisman from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.