Emory Lester Set Northhumberland

This beautifully played music falls squarely within the genre known as "Dawg" music, a term originally coined by mandolinist David Grisman. With its exciting synthesis of bluegrass and jazz, dawg music or progressive bluegrass gives new meaning to the phrase hybrid vigour. To say that this CD fits well within the standard of Grisman's early work is high praise indeed. Performing a collection of 13 originals (ten by group members), the Emory Lester Set provides a rewarding and generous (over 60 minutes), musical experience. This music is both energetic and melodic, revealing the solid musicianship of each member of this quartet (Lester on mandolin; Marion Linton on violin; Kene Hyatt on acoustic bass and Allan Gorman on guitar.) Lester absolutely soars on his own tune "Headin' South," the lead track on the disc. On her composition "Massanoga," fiddle player Marion Linton glides through the unusual chord changes and makes one recall the stellar musicianship of Darol Anger, violinist with Grisman's original Quintet. Linton's "Waltz for C.C." is written and performed with a clarity of purpose that is truly breathtaking. The tune is drop dead gorgeous. Marion Linton is a special case revealing much about the hybrid nature of this musical form. Obviously at home playing fiddle in a folkie/progressive grass quartet, Linton also works as a jazz pianist in Toronto, where her compositional and performing skills are beginning to turn heads. Imagine someone telling you that Thelonious Monk or Bill Evans worked weekends playing fiddle in a bluegrass group. A bit of a surprise to say the least? Such is the nature of this music and its practitioners. (Quiet Fire Studios)