From Mill Valley, California. Originally from Hackensack, New York
Called “The Paganini of the Mandolin” by the New York Times.
Bill Monroe once acknowledged David as his “heir apparent” to the mandolin.
Began pro career with Red Allen and the Kentuckians (mid-60’s).
Other early bands: The Even Dozen Jug Band (with Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian, later of the Lovin’ Spoonful), The New York Ramblers (with Jody Stecher and Winnie Winston).
1967, moved to California and formed a rock group with Peter Rowan called “Earth Opera.”
1972, performed in Muleskinner with Peter Rowan, Richard Greene and Clarence White.
1973, formed The Great American Music Band, which included at various times, Richard Greene, Vassar Clements, Jerry Garcia, Eric Thompson, John Carlini and Joe Carroll. Performed at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
1973, formed a group with Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements and John Kahn called “Old and In the Way.” Their self-titled album ranks as one of the best selling bluegrass albums of all time.
Calls his music “Dawg” music (after the initials in his name.) Jerry Garcia (of The Grateful Dead) gave him the nickname.
One of the first to successfully fuse bluegrass with jazz.
Since 1975, has performed with his group, The David Grisman Quintet (or Quartet, depending on the number of musicians). First version of this band included guitarist Tony Rice.
Frets Magazine called David’s music “bluegrass-jazz-Gypsy-rock-Middle-Eastern-Hebraic-folk-classical-Grisman.” Billboard Magazine has called it “fire-breathing acoustic string music that fuses the emotional freedom of rock to the tight precision of bluegrass.”
Has worked on albums by Linda Rondstadt, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Judy Collins, Martin Mull, Tom Paxton, the Pointer Sisters, and the Grateful Dead.
Gave Bob Dylan mandolin lessons.
1976, released The David Grisman Rounder Album a landmark album featuring Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Bill Keith, J.D. Crowe and many other bluegrass artists (Rounder).
1976, founded a magazine called “The Mandolin World News.”
Founder and owner of Acoustic Disc records.
Early influences: Ralph Rinzler (of the original Greenbriar Boys) and Frank Wakefield.
1994, released Tone Poems, a duet album with Tony Rice featuring vintage instruments (Acoustic Disc).
1997, released a duet album with Doc Watson, Doc & Dawg (Acoustic Disc).
2000, won IBMA awards for Instrumental Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year (“Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza”).
2001, his daughter Gillian produced a film for Sony Pictures called “Grateful Dawg,,” based on the lives, music and friendship of David Grisman and Jerry Garcia.
2002, formed a bluegrass band called The David Grisman Experience. Also formed a reunion band called Old & In the Gray.