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Stolen Moments

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 10, 2005
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Product Description

STOLEN MOMENTS showcases the Grammy winning banjoist, Alison Brown at the peak of her powers, bending musical genres to create a unique sound that blends the rugged drive of bluegrass, with the harmonic sophistication of acoustic jazz. With guest appearances from the INdogo Girls, Beth Nielsen Champman, Sam Bush, Mary Chapin Carpenter and more!

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With her impeccable musicianship and consummate taste, Alison Brown takes the banjo far from its rural traditions. If this is roots music, it no longer has any dust on its boot heels, as she engages in sophisticated interplay with Stuart Duncan's soaring fiddle on "The Sound of Summer Running," takes a Celtic romp with Sam Bush's sprightly mandolin on "The Magnificent Seven," and fashions a tone poem of atmospheric impressionism in "The Pirate Queen." Though instrumentals dominate, guest vocalists include the Indigo Girls on a revival of Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound," Beth Nielsen Chapman on a spiritually radiant rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel," Andrea Zonn on the folk ballad "One Morning in May," and Mary Chapin Carpenter--billed as "Thigdalia Boomchick"--backed by a female chorus of Boomchicks on Boo Hewerdine's "Prayer Wheel." Brown's eclectic synthesis of bluegrass/jazz/classical/folk/new age is closer to NPR than Grand Ole Opry, more fitting for Sunday brunch than a Saturday night hoedown. --Don McLeese
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00096S2GY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,343 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Ross on June 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Playing Time - 50:35 -- Individualism in music is a goal for many musicians who enjoy the challenge of pushing their technical skills into realms of innovation and adventure. The impressively virtuosic Alison Brown has a broad base of experience to draw upon. Her travels have taken her from Connecticut to California to Tennessee. From her earliest bands (The Stringbenders, Gold Rush), the 1991 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year went on to play, record or tour with the likes of Northern Lights, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Michelle Shocked, New Grange, and others. She owns her own record company (Compass Records), and in 1996 formed her Alison Brown Quartet. A bit of trivia is that her tune, "Girl's Breakdown" (from her Grammy-nominated "Fair Weather" album) was used in early 2000 as the official wake up music for the crew of the U.S. Space Shuttle Destiny on their mission to the International Space Station. So what next for someone whose music has reached the depths of outer space?

"Stolen Moments" is an astounding display of melodic invention that continues to characterize this one-of-a-kind player. Her expressive musicality incorporates elements of many genres from Celtic (her own "Carrowkeel") to pop (Jimi Henrix's "Angel" or Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound" or Jim Rooney/Bill Keith's "One Morning in May"). These pop numbers include some superb vocals that make the album whole (courtesy of folks like Amy Ray, Emily Saliers, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Andrea Zonn). Mary Chapin Carpenter also appears. While credits aren't clear, I assume that she's one of the four singing "Boomchicks" (Thighdalia, Aureola, Ovaria, and Fallopia) who appear on "Prayer Wheel.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Alison Brown's progressive bluegrass banjo sound! It's a sophisticated mix of jazz, pop, classical, Celtic folk music, bluegrass, new-grass and Latin. Ms. Brown is a jazz-influenced, highly creative composer whose intricate playing demonstrates virtuoso ability. This Harvard University grad, (with an MBA from UCLA), has been named Banjo Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, and has recorded six solo albums, including the 2001 Grammy winner "Fair Weather" and Grammy-nominated "Simple Pleasures." She has just come out with, what I think, is her best album to date, "Stolen Moments."

This 11 track CD, a combination of instrumentals and vocals, includes such diverse tracks as: "The Magnificent Seven," a Celtic medley, with Sam Bush on mandolin and Andrea Zonn on fiddle. The "seven" in the title refers to the seven-beat meter of the main theme; "Carrowkeel," which was based on a Gregorian chant, and includes both Seamus Egan's Irish-sounding pennywhistle, as well as the distinct sound of John R. Burr's piano; "Prayer Wheel," is highlighted by Mary Chapin Carpenter's extraordinary contralto; the cover of Jimi Hendrix's 1960's "Angel," with Beth Nielson Chapman on lead vocal, is simply gorgeous; and Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound, features the Indigo Girls singing harmony. Fiddler/vocalist Andrea Zonn sings with Alison Brown on the lovely folk ballad "One Morning In May." "Musette For A Palindrome," the self-penned conga/mandolin/banjo piece, is one of the albums most special tracks, as is the medley "I'm Naked and I'm Going to Glasgow," which begins with the traditional jig then goes off into three original reels.
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Not much to add to the great reviews already entered here. This is a fine album and quite gentle to the ears and spirit. I was led to this artist specifically because she played with Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan on "Hop the Fence", a wonderful number from Thile's "Stealing Second" Album. That cut, like all those on this album has a gentle synergy and musical fusion that I find quite uplifting.
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Format: Audio CD
The previous two reviewers have covered everything much better than I can, so I just wanted to say that I believe the material on this album is the ABQ's best to date. The instrumentals are still very melodic and catchy yet more sophisticated with more intricate arrangements. The vocal tunes are as good, if not better than, those on the Grammy winning "Fair Weather" album.

Also, see ABQ live if you get a chance because it really showcases the musicians and songs better than any recording.
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Format: Audio CD
Stolen Moments presents an eclectic variety of ballads and instrumentals with a seamless fusion of jazz, celtic, bluegrass and folk. It is an interesting mix of Alison's compositions, traditional music and contemporary folk ballads. Alison feels she has successfully achieved a synthesis of the elements and has produced the most blended musical showcase of her career.

The CD contains 11 cuts with four ballads featuring all woman vocalists, two distinctly celtic influenced instrumentals, a delightful musette, and four jazzy bluegrass influenced instrumentals. One Morning in May is a hauntingly beautiful traditional ballad featuring vocalist Andrea Zonn. The tempo, lyrics and vocals all work to stay with you long after the piece has finished.

Musically, four instrumental pieces stand out above the others. Composed while Alison was pregnant, Musette for a Palindrome is a tribute to her daughter, Hannah. Its simplicity delivers a very uplifting and beautiful melody. (I'm Naked and I'm) Going to Glasgow is heavily influenced by the Celtic tradition and brilliantly overlayed with bluegrass styling with a cheerful down home Appalachian hoedown feel to it. The Celtic influenced Carrokeel is based on a Gregorian Chant that Alison had studied while at Harvard. She had loved the melody and pulse which she felt layed out nicely on the banjo. Her interpretation is wonderful. The Magnificent Seven is Alison's personal favorite and the most complex piece on the CD.

As a female banjoist, Alison has disregarded the conventional wisdom of the banjo's role in music. Her imagination and talent has explored the possibilities in a number of realms not traditionally considered for the banjo and in doing so has created an intriguing eclectic collection of compositions.
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