Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In review--Quintessential Strings

Jason Seed Stringtet
In the Gallery 
Jason Seed Music

Is it classical chamber or bluegrass? Certainly, guitarist-composer Jason Seed’s repertoire that appears on In the Gallery sounds like classical chamber with twang--a bit bluegrass swing played by a string quartet plus fusion guitar.  Well, that’s the best way I can describe the music on this CD.  Glenn Asch (violin and viola), Helen Reich (viola), Dan Armstrong (string bass) and Scott Tisdel (cello) join Seed’s guitar exploring new frontiers (much like the Kronos Quartet).  And if that’s not exotic enough for you Chinese Pipa master, Yang Wei appears on Where the Corners Meet, which resembles Chinese folkloric meets an Appalachian string band meets chamber music (though it sounds a bit busy for my tastes).

Seed’s Tangoesque takes its inspiration from Bill Frisell (another eclectic guitarist), Strange Meeting, according to the liner notes.  Seed’s guitar grabs the spotlight on this piece which the strings frame it with strains of tango.  On Pictures of an Exhibition, the musicians swing hard with the strings entangled in fun counterpoint.  This brings up the compositions which sound imaginative, fresh, and zany.  I get the sense that the musicians thoroughly enjoyed their performance on this recording because I’m certainly enjoying my time listening to the CD.  Fans of bluegrass swing, chamber strings, and uplifting guitar, will enjoy this high brow music that’s packed full of delight

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