Norman Blake, Tut Taylor, Sam Bush, Butch Robins, Vassar Clements, David Holland, Jethro Burns
1975 – HDS Records
This was a random find today in the bargain bin. Out of these names, two jumped out at me, Sam Bush and David Holland; one as a bluegrass musician and the other as one of my favorite jazz bassists. There was no way I wasn’t going to pick this up and see how it all mixed together. After my first listen, I can say it worked very well. It feels like a mix between straight bluegrass and gypsy jazz. It occurs to me now that these two styles have many similarities that I’m not sure I would have picked up on without listening to this record. Two step and walking basslines, concurrent soloing, simple chord progressions, blistering solo lines, and instrumentation. For this record, they chose a nice mix of songs, some jazz (Sweet Georgia Brown, Take the A Train) and some in the bluegrass tradition (The Old Brown Case). Linking these together on one LP works very well. The musicianship is superb and you can hear all the musicians stretch out. They are definitely comfortable with each other, which translates to a fun listen. Norman Blake on guitar is awesome. He was a studio musician as well as a touring musician with Johnny Cash, so he definitely knows his stuff. It’s these kind of albums that I really like, ones where I don’t know everyone on it. This gives me a list of new musicians (to me) to look out for in the future. Happy listening!