Darol Anger & Mike Marshall
practitioners, mostly from northern California and descended from the seminal David Grisman Quintet, have pushed the music even farther into left field than Fleck does, and have crafted dense compositions that require and repay close listening. True to the California spirit, this music is also more laid back than Fleck's flowing virtuoso displays.
Anger usually plays the violin (sometimes calling it a fiddle if it's playing bluegrasslike figures), and Marshall the mandolin or the lower and larger mandocello, which he calls "one of the great undiscovered compositional playgrounds of our time." Their duos are mostly originals, but some of them interact in complex ways with existing music: "Who Had Whom?" from the duo's new Woodshop album is described by Anger as "a new entry in the game of 'How much can you make a song sound like another song and not be the same song'"; it alights frequently on different parts of "Norwegian Wood" but is not an improvisation upon it. The extended harmonies and the involved, syncopated rhythms are basically those of modern jazz, and both players have collaborated extensively with jazz musicians.