Bluegrass/Jazz doesn't get ANY better than this!
Steven I. Ramm | Phila, PA USA | 03/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The actual CD of this album doesn't appear to be available until July but the MP3 download is listed here so it must be ready! I received an advance of the Cd and have been playing it all day. With the exception of bass player Jon Burr, all the other musicians on this album are well known to the Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass community and are superstars in their own right. The common thread here is violinist/fiddler Mark O'Connor, on whose own label this album is released.
The nine tracks were recorded at four different "jam sessions" between 2000 and 2004. On five of them O'Connor is joined by Chris Thile (former Nickel Creek mandolin player extraordinaire), guitarist Bryan Sutton and bass player Byron House. For two other tracks jazz guitarist (with lightning speed fingers) Frank Vignola joins then and Burr replaces House on bass. The other two sessions feature just O'Connor and Vignola plus Burr. These are all "live jams:" and there's lots of fast playing here. There's time on every track for the musicians to stretch out and "Soft Gyrations: - which goes beyond the 12-minute mark builds to a crescendo with O'Connor and Thile playing off of each other. And, "In The Cluster Blues" - one of the seven tunes written or -co-written by O'Connor, - runs for over 15 minutes! Listen to Thile's mandolin runs at about the three-minute mark on this blues tune.
If you are familiar with any of the musicians on this album you need to hear it! This is - hands down - the best album I've played all week!
Great stuff, but actually a partial reissue
M. D. Royko | Chicago, IL | 04/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Extraordinary improvising from O'Connor, Thile and the rest, but I'm a little surprised that nowhere is it mentioned that the five cuts with the quartet of MO, Thile, Sutton and House are the same performances issued 7 years ago on O'Connor's double disc "30 Year Retrospective." The four new tracks add up to 35 minutes, and they are as tasty as you'd expect."