Saturday, December 06, 2008

Alison Brown Quartet: Evergreen


Alison Brown likes to make music that doesn’t fit any precise categories. That’s what she and her fellow players in the Alison Brown Quartet do with seasonal materrial for the winter holidays, too. The result is music that’s both familiar and new, welcoming and challenging, and is likely to have listeners both enjoying it with quiet thouhgtfulness and laughing in surprise and delight.

Brown’s chosen instrument is the banjo, and here she brings that in conversation with bass from Garry West, fiddle and mandolin from Joe Craven, drums from Davisd Heyer, and piano from John R. Burr.

They take on both sacred and secular tunes.On the jazzy side, there’s Skating form Vince Guaraldi paired with a rockin’ version of Feliz Navidad, while a Celtic tune first written for the harp meets Dr.Seuss at O’Carolan’s/Welcome Christmas. You can almost see the snow sparkle as the quartet has fun with Sleigh Ride, and Christmas Time Is Here shows another side of how they think about the season, joined by the voices of students from the university School of Nashville’s Middle School Chorale. The ABQ rounds out the set with The Little Drummer. It’s a fine wintery mix that needn’t be put away when holiday celebrations are done.

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