Tony Rice Liner Notes for J Carlini Quartet CD


John Carlini and I have a musical association and friendship which goes back to 1975. Bill Keith was doing his first album for Rounder and had employed the services of David Grisman and myself. David had tapes of some new acoustic string jazz that he and Richard Greene were playing. The guitarist was John Carlini. His musicianship struck me as magical and I remember very well how much I wished I could be a part of that sound. Not realizing it at the time, I would be the guitarist assigned to replace John in David Grisman’s ongoing musical endeavors in a group that was to become the David Grisman Quartet. John and I met, and a treasured musical and personal relationship started that exists to this day.


Perhaps it is beneficial to contemporary society that each subsequent generation of musicians is endowed with a level of technical proficiency not available to their predecessors.

Otherwise, all musical forms might remain so stagnant in their predictability as to become boring. Technical proficiency in and of itself, however, is useless unless the artists know what to do with it. Musicians who seek to create something esoteric usually do so in an attempt to generate interest and to captivate an audience. The music created here by the John Carlini Quartet with Pat Cloud is serious music worthy of serious listening.


Miles Davis once said that when Bill Evans played a chord it was perceived as more of a “sound” than a chord per se. And so it is here, as played by well-seasoned, well-schooled musicians playing together as a unit to create a pleasant listening experience.


This music is difficult to categorize...and it should be. I would even venture to say that it is intended for the connoisseur. Categorization of music or any art form does have some merit, ie: where to find it on the radio dial or in the record store. For lack of a better term, I would categorize the music herein as simply modern string jazz. But even that is all too vague. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons; one, the presence of the mandolin and the 5-string banjo, and, two, the addition of a drummer. These instruments are not generally associated with string jazz a la Grappelli/Reinhardt or Venuti/Lang. Confused? I hope you are so confused as to simply sit back and enjoy this unique “sound” emanating through your loud speakers. Don’t tell your friends who listen only to the upper end of the radio dial. You may have to stand accountable to them.


This music is jazz structurally in that a main theme is stated followed by improvisational statements by soloists.


I've listened to a pre-release copy of the recording several times, and as a testament to its continuity, the random play button on your CD player makes for an equally fine listening experience.


Tony Rice