Mike Marshall: Three Dragons
Mike Marshall (acoustic guitar)
Mike Marshall's Big Trio (Adventure Music AMA 1051 2)
Mike Marshall (acoustic guitar),
Alex Hargreaves (violin), Paul Kowert (bass).
Composed by Mike Marshall (intro by Mikael Marin).
Recorded: Albany, CA, August 2008
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
For "Three Dragons," stringed instrument maestro Mike Marshall sticks with acoustic guitar and enlists the help of two young men who by appearances seemed better prepared to play Jonas Brothers tunes than a complex, multipart concoction of classical, bluegrass, folk and jazz. Yet any doubts about whether age is a factor are quickly dispelled and completely forgotten.
This piece has several movements, each revisited several times. The intro is from "Linnaeus Långdans" by the Scandinavian folk combo Väsen. Here it has a European classical nuance. Another section is still more serene. The track's signature is the contemporary bluegrass part, a vamp where Alex Hargreaves goes from being a violinist to a fiddler and supplying the rhythm via string scrapes at the same time he's nimbly playing chords. Marshall provides a brief but effective solo the first go-around, and Paul Kowert next offers one that steadily climbs up the register of his bowed bass. At the end, the teenaged Hargreaves takes his turn, an outpouring of deeply experienced playing within just 30 seconds.
Marshall could have made "Three Dragons" an exhibition for his big chops, but chose instead to trust the budding talents of a bassist and a violinist to carry most of the load. It was trust well earned.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron