I recently reviewed an album by Bela Fleck for FAME. Since I like banjo music the FAME coordinator suggested I listen to a new banjo album by Jayme Stone—"The Utmost". I didn't know what to expect, since I wasn't familiar with this artist's music. I could see that one cut, Midnight on the Water, was a fiddle/bluegrass title but the rest, such as Tungsten or Local Motion, didn't seem to fit in the bluegrass/old timey area. Maybe Jazz? After the first play I was surprised to be saying to myself, "some kind of jazz fusion, but I like it".
Jayme plays banjo along the lines of Béla Fleck or Tony Trischka. (These guys were his instructors!) He apparently played bluegrass music but like many other super players has developed an improvisational style akin to Jazz. So no driving Scruggs playing here. But very intricate and introspective melodies. For example, Sister takes a melody line and repeats it over and over but with shades of progression and interweaving the accompanying instruments. It pulls you along like a leaf floating on a river. 1935 is reminiscent of that era's big band/swing music. Humming and Hawwing is very acoustic with guitar, banjo and fiddle sharing the spot light together.
The accompanying musicians are all great. Matt Flinner is a well known bluegrass mandolin player. There is Ross Martin on guitar, Adam Galblum on fiddle, Rob Mosher on English horn, Mike Olsen on cello, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and Mark Diamond on bass. The horns are used on certain tunes such as The Up and Up, Tungsten and 1935. The fiddle and banjo interplay is used effectively. There are 11 tunes, all but one is original. Even that one Midnight on the Water is unusual because of a "bowed" banjo string effect.
The album provides easy (but not boring) listening. The kind of music you would like to listen to while driving some tree lined roadway in the Fall.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles