released 2019 ADVENTURE MUSIC
The legendary Duo of Mike Marshall and Darol Anger celebrates their 41st anniversary of driving their musical backhoe through the great string traditions of the world. The Duo's persistent creativity and musical chemistry has inspired generations of string musicians all over the world during their decades of international touring.
They have released 8 influential and well-loved recordings over their history, beginning during their tenure with the David Grisman Quintet and proceeding through their years with Windham Hill, Compass, and their own label, Adventure.
Their rare concerts are always special occasions and always fresh, featuring virtuosic, humorous, and emotional improvisation in their own self-created musical language.
This newest limited-edition release, entitled Da Capo, commemorates this 41st anniversary of Mike and Darol’s musical brotherhood and is their 8th official recording, gathering up duet versions of previous ensemble originals and some brand-new compositions created to commemorate the occasion.
You can purchase a physical CD with a beautifully printed no-plastic wallet including fun photos and liner notes, (please allow 2 weeks for postal delivery) or simply download the recording from our BANDCAMP website.
What was the catalyst for this CD?
We (Mike and Darol) celebrated our 41st year of playing music together in 2019. It’s been a quite eventful ride, and even when we have pursued separate projects, they seem to have paralleled each other in uncanny ways. Our lives are linked musically and in other ways that are not explainable. That’s something worth celebrating. At the end of 2018, we decided to make a new recording to commemorate all that.
Each of us had written some new music that we both realized would be perfect for The Duo. It had been some years since we had made a “live”, un-orchestrated recording, and our ensemble skills have deepened and widened in the past decade through all our teaching and delving into the gnarly details of how to play music.
Tell us a bit about your choice in music and how you arrived at each tune?
We wanted to record music that would be complete in one live pass, playing together. We wanted a mix of tunes we’d been playing for years, and the new stuff. And we wanted it to be mostly our originals. These exemplify the vast stylistic reach of current string band music… what else can be said? We helped invent this form, working together with musicians such as David Grisman, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, David Balakrishnan, Tony Trischka, Michael Hedges and others (there is a tribute/remembrance of Hedges on this recording).
The only non-originals are our rather idiosyncratic but highly-informed versions of the great Brazilian string band style, Choro, to which Mike has dedicated so many years of his musical life. There are 2 of these Choro pieces which showcase Mike’s startlingly comprehensive virtuosity on mandolin, and Darol’s sophisticated rhythm fiddle concept originated in his Turtle Island String Quartet, and further developed over 12 years of teaching violin at Berklee College and at his Artistworks online Fiddle School.
How is the CD reflective of your history together and your playing or musical styles?
We chose music reflecting just about every style and era that we love. It all possesses the strong stamp of our personalities, and shows our love of the beauty of string instruments. The material all draws on the precision and rhythmic power of Bluegrass and traditional string music, but with an expanded harmonic palette that suggests jazz but is something more. It’s our original mix, reflecting the history of popular music all over the world. The musical forms vary from highly structured sections with evolved counterpoint to open jams seesawing between 2 or more moods.
Mike plays a brand-new mandolin developed, with his help, by the Northfield mandolin company. He also plays his unique and precious John Monteleone mando-cello, and a fine old Martin guitar borrowed for the sessions from a friend in the Boston area. Darol plays an extraordinary, radical-design violin by Nathaniel Rowan and his signature acoustic Octave Violin made by AcousticElectric Strings.
Who did what on the CD (producers, other instrumentalists) etc…any insight on your choices there?
We produced and recorded it ourselves drawing on our long history and knowledge of the Recording Craft. We recorded it in Darol’s portable attic studio in Boston over two days using our collection of fine microphones and pre-amps. Darol pushed the buttons, turned the dials and set up the mics. Mike edited and mixed the performances (very little of each) with quite a bit of help from an old friend, engineer David Luke, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was masterfully mastered by another long-time collaborator, Ken Lee, also in Oakland, California.
We purposefully recorded the entire thing as a duet, with no added anything, duplicating the feeling of a live show, and showcasing our mutual resources as the largest-sounding Duet String Ensemble that we know of.
Mike Marshall: composition, Mandolin, Mando-Cello, Guitar
Darol Anger: composition, Fiddle, Octave Violin
Recorded at Fiddlistics Studio, Arlington, MA 2018
Mixed at Gatorland Studio, Oakland, CA by Dave Luke
Mastering: Ken Lee Mastering, Oakland, CA
Graphics: Maria Camillo
Cover Photo (front) Patrick M'Gonigle. (back) Jon Sievert
Wintergrass Live shot: Maria Camillo