Norman Blake / Jethro Burns / Sam Bush / Vassar Clements / Dave Holland / Butch Robins / Tut Taylor

Norman Blake/Tut Taylor/Sam Bush/Butch Robins/Vassar Clements/David Holland/Jethro Burns

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Although this 1974 Nashville recording session might at first glance seem to fall be a bluegrass date, it straddles jazz, Western swing, and folk as well, with a fair degree of spontaneity throughout. Norman Blake is primarily heard on guitar, though he dabbles with a bit of mando-cello as well, the rest of the cast includes jazz bassist Dave Holland, the superb (and underrated) Jethro Burns on mandolin, Sam Bush on mandolin and mandola, fiddler Vassar Clements, banjo player Butch Robins, and dobro player Tut Taylor, who also doubles on mandolin. "Sauerkraut 'n Solar Energy," a swinging blues that was evidently written on the spot, defies being pigeonholed into any one category of music. Blake's original "The Old Brown Case" showcases the leader's hot picking in a solo setting. Clements and Burns (on guitar) combine forces for a lively interpretation of Antonin Dvorák's "Going Home," and both the full band version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and the violin and guitar duet of Duke Ellington's theme song, "Take the 'A' Train," blur the imaginary lines between jazz and bluegrass even further; after all, a good musician in either field should be a great improviser. Due to the demise of Flying Fish, a great independent label that seemed to specialize in producing sessions such as this one, this disc will be somewhat difficult to acquire.

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