Shout out to Frank Wakefield

The excellent – raw, messy, soulful, but whip smart – mandolin player Frank Wakefield has died. It was a musical life well lived.

The NY Times has a warm obituary. Frank Wakefield, Who Expanded the Mandolin’s Range, Dies at 89: “an innovative bluegrass mandolinist whose sweeping musicality led to collaborations with the New York Philharmonic and Jerry Garcia, and whose unique voicings and technique expanded the parameters of his instrument”

I think they miss the mark, though. His playing was awkward and red hot, more like the blues mandolinist Yank Rachel than next-gen newgrass virtuosos like David Grisman. He DID a sharp mind and wasn’t afraid to go highbrow, like with his Bach recordings, but his touch was always earthy.

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