Song of the Day #1903 & #1904

Songs of the Day: Dawgma / Swing ’39 [YouTube link] are two songs that were performed back-to-back on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in support of the 1978 quintet album, “Hot Dawg,” featuring David Grisman on lead mandolin, Mark O’Connor on guitar, Mike Marshall on rhythm mandolin, Rob Wasserman on bass, and the immortal Stephane Grappelli on violin. The September 13, 1979 show can be seen in its entirety [YouTube link]. The artists even play the gypsy jazz classic, “Minor Swing“, as an encore (previously highlighted in 2013 as a “Song of the Day“) over the closing credits [YouTube link]. “Dawgma” was composed by Grisman in that characteristic style of his, merging jazz and bluegrass; “Swing ’39” was composed by Grappelli and his old bandmate, the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, with whom he formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France back in 1934. He was 71 when he appeared on “The Tonight Show“, and is as fleet of finger as he ever was. I was privileged to see him in-person with David Grisman at Avery Fisher Hall (now “David Geffen Hall“) on October 2, 1981 and again, with his own quartet, at The Bottom Line in Greenwich Village, on April 25, 1983. On this date, in 1908, Grappelli was born. He was born in Gaie Paris—pun intended; when he passed away at the age of 89 in 1997, he left behind his life partner of 25 years, Joseph Oldenhove. The virtuoso violinist also left behind an extraordinary musical legacy, having recorded with everyone from Yehudi Menuhin and Yo Yo Ma to Paul Simon and Pink Floyd [YouTube links].

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