The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

by Alison Brown


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Jazz banjo virtuoso Alison Brown has carved out a unique musical niche for herself by combining a number of conventional elements in a personal way: her style of jazz is quite straight-ahead without sounding either old-fashioned or even really traditional, and her compositions are richly complex without ever sounding avant-garde or even self-consciously progressive. Perhaps most impressive of all, she never seems defensive about the fact that she's using a five-string banjo to play jazz -- her jazziest material sounds effortless and natural, but she also has no compunction whatsoever about bringing bluegrass and Celtic elements into her sound. On The Company You Keep she is playing and writing at the peak of her powers: "Crazy Ivan" opens the program in a minor key and a complex meter; "Forky on the Water" is a traditional fiddle tune arranged with a lovely Caribbean lilt; ":The Clean Plate Club" is strutting country-jazz that would sound at home on an old Bob Wills recording. "The Road West" is an adaptation of a tune by Irish accordionist Martin O'Connor, one that allows Brown to demonstrate her unique genius, which is to put chromatic sophistication completely in service to melodic beauty. The program closes with "Waltz for Mr. B," a sweet and quietly joyful tune written for Brown's infant son. "Drawing Down the Moon" is a slightly overlong slow number that tends to meander a bit, but it's the closest thing there is to a misstep on this excellent album.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/07/2009
Label: Compass Records
UPC: 0766397448220
catalogNumber: 4482
Rank: 36545

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alison Brown   Primary Artist,Banjo
Larry Atamanuik   Drums
John Burr   Piano
Joe Craven   Fiddle,Mandolin,Percussion
John Doyle   Guitar,Lute
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Kenny Malone   Percussion,Drums
Garry West   Bass,Bass Guitar
Erick Jaskowiak   Percussion

Technical Credits

Alison Brown   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
John Burr   Arranger,Composer
Joe Craven   Arranger,Composer
John Doyle   Composer
Máirtín O'Connor   Composer
Garry West   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Traditional   Composer
David McClister   Cover Photo
Erick Jaskowiak   Engineer
John Bohn   Engineer

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