The New Cool: Beyond Jazz and Bluegrass

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Friday September 15, 2017


The New Cool: Beyond Jazz and Bluegrass
By: Abe Beeson

Brad Mehldau plays piano and Chris Thile plays mandolin and sings a bit. Their new album is self-titled and is a blend of jazz and free-flowing bluegrass, but it shouldn’t be defined by either genre. Brad and Chris are simply making great music.

So, what is jazz anyway?

In a recent studio session with the Manchester-based piano/bass/drums trio GoGo Penguin, we were reminded that the word “jazz” has as many definitions as it has fans.

If you stay away from labels of any sort, you’re more likely to attract open-minded listeners. “They’re great musicians? Wonderful. I love music!” is a much more universal idea than a singular passion for rock, or rap, or country, or even jazz.

The world of jazz has always been a welcome place for music that evades simple categorization. There’s freedom not just for musicians, but also for their audience. Just leave those preconceptions behind.

Mehldau and Thile obviously owe a lot to the traditions of jazz and bluegrass music.

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