Mike Marshall is much like Mark O'Connor, a virtuoso on several string instruments, an innovative composer and arranger who refuses to be pigeonholed stylistically, and also an alum of David Grisman's band. Numerous Grisman alumni turn up on this 1984 release, including violinist Darol Anger, bassists Todd Phillips and Rob Wasserman, guitarist Tony Rice, and even Grisman himself, along with dobro player Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck on banjo, violinist David Balikrishan (who would later co-found the Turtle Island String Quartet with Anger), and pianist Barbara Higbie. Marshall sticks primarily to mandolin on this mostly progressive bluegrass date, though he's also heard on mandola, mandocello, violin, and guitar. Highlights include the funky original "Gator Strut," "Ravel" (a solo effort featuring the leader overdubbed on several instruments while adapting a theme by the French Impressionist composer), a joint arrangement with Anger of John Coltrane's infrequently performed "Giant Hornpipe," and a brilliant interpretation of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight."
Gator Strut Review
by Ken Dryden