Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven

Evergreen

by Ben Child

10 December 2008

 

The Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven’s Evergreen is a slight, welcome album of holiday instrumentals. As expected, the playing is both inventive and precise; the arrangements are cheery and dynamic. Throughout these performances, the group allows the jazz influence to smooth out any rustic edges that might be suggested by the bluegrass instruments and the result is something like a very polite, updated and dressed-up version of western swing, with songs that balance diminished piano chords, a nimble rhythm section, and Craven’s warbly fiddle lines. This is unquestionably a skilled ensemble but you wish they’d break out a little more. If anything, Brown herself is too modest: the record could use a few more loudly energetic banjo solos, the kind that sing “Joy to the World” and mean it.

Evergreen

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.

//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Beyoncé and When Music Writing Becomes Activism

// Sound Affects

"The overall response to Beyoncé's "Formation" has been startlingly positive, but mostly for reasons attached to political agendas. It's time to investigate this trend.

READ the article