MIKE MARSHALL’s touring and recording career began over 20 years ago as a member of the original David Grisman Quintet in 1979. Since those days Mike has been at the center of the acoustic music scene can be heard on hundreds of recordings of acoustic music. His mastery of mandolin, guitar and violin and his ability to swing gracefully between jazz, classical, bluegrass and Latin styles is rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.
Mike has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalist in the world including Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Joshua Bell.
In 1983, Mike formed a partnership with violinist Darol Anger and together they formed the Montreux Band with pianist Barbara Higbie, bassist Michael Manring and steel drum virtuoso Andy Narell. This group released five recordings on the Windham Hill label and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan from 1984 to 1990. The Montreux band pointed the way for much of the acoustic instrumental music of the 80s and 90s. In 1986, while still a member of Montreux, Mike founded a classical string quartet of mandolin family instruments (two mandolins, mandola and mandocello) This group, The Modern Mandolin Quartet, released four recordings for Windham Hill Records which redefined the mandolin in a classical music setting. In 1995 the Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut and in 1996 received a 'Meet The Composer' grant from the Lila Wallace Foundation.
Meanwhile, Mike had traveled to Brazil and begun his love affair with choro, an indigenous music that is to Brazil what bluegrass is to the U.S. He embarked on an in-depth study of the style that resulted in the CD "Brasil (Duets)." This recording showcases Mike at the top of his form as a mandolinist in duet settings, and features top instrumentalists such as Andy Narell, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, bassist Michael Manring, and keyboardist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto.
Mike has continued to push the boundaries of acoustic instrumental music. After tapping Fleck and Meyer for the "Brasil (Duets)" project, he collaborated with the two masters on a 1997 Sony Classical release titled "Uncommon Ritual." The album charted on the Billboard Top Ten Classical Chart, where it remained for more than three months. The following year, the ensemble opened the Chamber Music Series 1998 season at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Mike worked with Meyer yet again on the 1999 "Short Trip Home," another Sony Classical recording with Joshua Bell and fiddle-and-mandolin player Sam Bush.
Mike has two holiday recordings to his credit: In 1998, he released "Midnight Clear," a solo guitar recording, and in 2000 he recorded "A Christmas Heritage" with banjo player Alison Brown, Darol Anger, mandolinist Tim O'Brien, Todd Phillips and pianist-composer Phil Aaberg. That band, called New Grange, also released an eponymous CD on Compass Records.
Today Mike can be heard on the Car Talk soundtrack recording every week on NPR along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. In addition Mike composed and recorded the theme music for the San Francisco based radio program Forum heard daily on KQED radio.
Darol Anger remains an important collaborator for Mike. To date, they have released 6 albums as a duo on Compass and Windham Hill Records. Together they have also recorded under the moniker Psychograss with guitarist David Grier, banjo player Tony Trischka and bassist Todd Phillips.
Over the past several years, Mike has also been collaborating Chris Thile, of Nickel Creek. The two mandolinists began performing together at festivals and eventually evolved into a duo, recording their first album in 2003. This cd, entitled Into the Cauldron, is a mandolin duet project performed entirely on mandolin and mandocello. Released on Sugar Hill records, this album was listed in the top ten of Amazon.com's favorite recordings for 2003.
Throughout his career, Mike has recorded with many different labels, including Rounder, Compass Records, Windham Hill, Sony Classical and Sugar Hill Records. In 2003, he decided to pursue his dream of producing his own music as well as new and exciting musicians who are arriving on the acoustic and Brazilian music scene, with his own label called, appropriately, Adventure Music. From samba and jazz to folk and world beat, a singular sound is emerging that connects the music of string band musicians from around the Americas. Adventure Music is harnessing the beauty of that sound and giving it to the world, states Marshall. Starting in the fall of 2003 and throughout 2004, Adventure Music plans to release between twelve and fifteen titles from artists that include himself, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, the duo of vocalist Claudia Villela and guitarist Ricardo Peixoto, Nelson Angelo, and guitarist Marcos Amorim. Additionally, Adventure Music has negotiated an agreement with the S? Paulo-based label Nucleo Contemporaneo to release titles from its extensive catalog for the first time in the United States.