CD Review: TONE POEMS III
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Mike Auldridge, Bob Brozman, David Grisman:
Tone Poems III
"Here are the boys with their metal toys." Bibiana Matheis describing Tone Poems III.
The outstanding, instrumental Tone Poems series teams mandolinist David Grisman with other musicians around a particular theme and types of instruments. Tone Poems I featured Grisman with flat-picking guitar virtuoso Tony Rice (mandolins and acoustic flat-top folk guitars), Tone Poems II with Martin Taylor (mandolins with archtop jazz guitars). Now, the sequel, III, takes us on a musical journey to the twangy world of the steel and resophonic guitar, ukuleles and mandolins. Grisman is joined by two of the best sliders anywhere. Bluegrass Dobro player extraordinaire Mike Auldridge, of Seldom Scene fame who is widely considered to be among the best in the world, along with Jerry Douglas. Mr. National Guitar Bob Brozman - known for his Hawaiian influenced style, is probably the world's foremost expert on resonator guitars and the National brand in particular.
Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar
Grisman, influential acoustician, mandolin titan, composer, bandleader and profound innovator, is noted for tasteful virtuosity, and a wide repertoire of splendid diversity. Nobody plays the mandolin with greater love and affection. Multiple Grammy nominee Grisman, arguably the most significant contemporary mandolinist in the world and a living American cultural treasure, headlined at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall and the best venues the world over. He revolutionized acoustic and string music by merging diverse traditions and blurring the distinction between bluegrass and jazz, and points in between. These idioms may be different and distinct but hold much in common, allowing for wide ranging improvisational movement and expression.
This album features resophonic instruments, designed for higher volume than standard instruments so that they could be heard against a loud band in the days before amplification. They include the lap-style instruments of well known brands such as Dobro, National, Weissenborn and Regal brand guitars and mandolins. Usually, with exceptions of Weissenborn and a few others, the one thing most have in common is metal . Either metal resophonic cones in a wooden instrument or an entirely metal body- usually brass with chrome on top. The National Resonator guitar , a metal bodied guitar capable of a much higher volume than traditional guitars, was invented in the 1920's by John Dopyera, and became immensely popular with Hawaiian musicians whose style is "characterized by languid floating notes, romantic glissandos, and the use of chimes". National Resonator Guitars are to this day embellished with designs of elaborate Hawaiian scenes. The Dobro brand is often a wooden guitar with a resonator cone. Also featured are hollow neck wooden guitars as built by, or styled after, Herman Weissenborn. These lap-style guitars, mandolins and ukuleles are still popular even though electric instruments such as lap-steel emerged. These instruments played a vital role during the transition of 19th Century acoustic guitar and mandolin to the amplified and electric instruments and the modern instruments of the 20th Century.
In addition to the 21 song CD, you get an extensive booklet featuring the various instruments and their makers. Together the three virtuosos, icons of string music, slide into the American musical horizon dipping liberally into the full spectrum of the sound that was so popular in the 1920's and 30's. The three masters touch on everything from Ragtime, blues hillbilly, bluegrass, folk and country music with liberal dosage of Hawaiian Hula mixed in. They play the actual vintage instruments and recorded analog, as pure as possible, without compression or equalization.
The result is yet another cultural treasure no folklorist, string instrumentalist, or roots music lover should have to live without. The entire tone poems series are priceless records, must-have collector's items and immensely wonderful gifts.
Have a twangy day!
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