David Grisman has been stockpiling live recordings made of his own band and concerts with other musicians. Beginning in 2008, he switched to selling new releases exclusively as downloads and limited-edition CD-Rs. This 1996 duo concert with guitarist Martin Taylor is evidently a complete concert at Wigmore Hall in London (though there are no liner notes), with the mandolinist and his guest playing a number of vintage acoustic instruments, as they did on their Tone Poems collaboration. There is plenty of "Dawg" music from Grisman's vast repertoire, jazz gems by Django Reinhardt, Edgar Sampson, and Duke Ellington, vintage standards of the 1930s and 1940s, plus Latin music, all played with finesse by the two masters, with Grisman switching to guitar or tenor guitar on several songs. It's difficult to pick highlights among the 20 performances, since all are at a high level, but their intricate interpretation of Reinhardt's "Nuages," a playful extended romp through "Besame Mucho," and a relaxed, swinging "Stompin' at the Savoy" are unforgettable. Beautifully recorded in a manner to give the listener the impression of having a front-row seat, Live at Wigmore Hall should be an essential acquisition for fans of David Grisman and Martin Taylor.
Live at Wigmore Hall 4/21/96 Review
by Ken Dryden