Sunday, November 04, 2007
Anyone expecting straightforward bluegrass from Jerry Douglas on dobro, Edgar Meyer on bass and Sam Bush on mandolin or fiddle got just a little bit of it on Wednesday night. At the end of the trio’s concert at Zankel Hall, the musicians breezed through a banjo tune. Before then, nearly all the music they played was poised comfortably between genres: deeply rooted in bluegrass technique but toying with the parameters and options of string-band music.
The trio’s members were as attentive to structure and sonic detail as any chamber-music ensemble, while their tunes conjured mountain music’s Celtic roots along with blues, reggae, jazz and the modes of Eastern European or Middle Eastern music. Between the exquisite compositions, they cracked jokes.
The three musicians have calibrated the ways they share textures; in one piece, mandolin and dobro pinged 16th notes back and forth, perfectly staggered at top speed, and in another, a bowed drone on Mr. Meyer’s bass brought out somber resonances.
But the trio was after more than good-timey grins and thrills. Their music was thinking all the time, just not getting pretentious about it.
Read the entire review in the New York Times.