Mike Marshall Big Trio CD Review

Mike Marshall Big Trio CD Review
A purely instrumental project that needs no vocals to appeal precisely to your very core, Mike Marshall's Big Trio features the virtuoso talents of Mike Marshall, Alex Hargreaves, and Paul Kowert. The sound is unclassifiably amazing, melding classical, jazz, bluegrass, and old tyme with a flair that is uniquely Mike Marshall and enhanced by two young talents. The power of this music lies its emotional depth.

Alex Hargreaves (Fiddle) and Paul Kowert (Bass Fiddle) individually boast extraordinary stage credits and each have earned multiple awards in the acoustic music circle. Both have been involved with Darol Anger's Republic of Strings and have grown under the tutelage of both Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. Mike openly describes these young virtuosos as the future.

Each of the tunes on the project has a child's themed title; fantasy related. But, do not be misled; the music is mature and intricately complex. Throughout the CD there is a dichotomy between the free form of jazz and the structure of classical influences. Yet, it takes a lesson from Bluegrass with instrument breaks giving each musician the liberty to improvise within the framework of the melody.

The project consists of 9 tunes with a running time of nearly 45 minutes. I wish the project liner notes gave some insight into the theme and inspiration for each piece on the project. "Sleeping Giant" is the longest tune on the project with a play time of 7+ minutes. It starts out simply and softly and awakens to greater intensity and complexity. There is a sense of seeking building into a frenzy as the giant fully awakens. The shortest tune on the project running just 3:09 minutes is the "Honey Bees Secret". It's a sweet melody bringing to mind the carefree flight of a bumble bee. The melody of "Sweets Mill" is endearing. I could see the music on this project fitting the background of an animated child's fantasy movie. The "Three Dragons" composition conjures up the image of playful dragons out for an afternoon of frolic.

This is a project for those who appreciate the free flow structure of Jazz. It is a purely instrumental project driven by the power of Mike Marshall's mandolin but fully supported by Paul's masterful bass fiddle and Alex's brilliant fiddle.

Project Title:Mike Marshall's Big Trio
Artist:Mike Marshall, Alex Hargreaves, Paul Kowert
Produced by:Mike Marshall
Executive Producer: Richard Zirinsky
Recorded at:C Change Albany, CA
Mixed by: David Luke and Mike Marshall at Gatorland Studios, Oakland CA
Mastered: Kenneth Lee, Kenneth Lee Mastering, Oakland CA
Record Label:Adventure Music, LLC

Song List/Credits
House Camp
Little Bears
Three Dragons
Honey Bee's Secret
Sleeping Giant
Back to the Castle
Boston Girl
The Princess
Sweets Mill

All compositions by Mike Marshall (Rotagilla Music BMI) except the intro to "Three Dragons" which was composed by Mikael Marin from the Swedish Group Vasen titled "Linnaeus Langdans"

Mike Marshall – Mandolin, Mandocello, Guitar
Alex Hargreaves - Violin
Paul Kowert – Bass

CD under review was purchased directly from the performers at a private house concert.

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