PRAISE FOR “THE SONG OF THE BANJO”
"…a complete delight, whether through focused listens or as a background setting for enjoying other activities.”
“Alison is a banjo picker sans pareil -- always riveting, clear, concise and mindful of all the musicianship displayed on her album.”
“…it’s Brown and her banjo that you’ll want to keep at the center of your vision.”
Jon Weisberger of Nashville Scene
“...an attractive, easygoing album with Brown shining thanks to her skilled playing, imagination and purity of heart.”
“A number of cover songs are given new life with the flare of Brown’s banjo.”
“With her compositions revealing influences of Irish, Scottish and English folk tunes while also incorporating quotes from jazz and funk, Ms. Brown continues to evolve as a writer while remaining formidable on her instrument of choice. She may well be approaching some kind of personal musical breakthrough of her own if she keeps this up.“
Deep Roots Magazine
“Brown has formidable skills as a bluegrass picker.”
J. Poet of The Bluegrass Situation
“Brown…is able to reinvent the song while keeping the soulful spirit at its core.”
Aggie Ashagre of Billboard (On “What’s Going On”)
“Gifted composer, successful bandleader and savvy indie record company owner…premier picker of the 5-string banjo.”
“…a love song to her favourite instrument, showing its versatility, as well as her own skills in settings ranging from folk and pop to jazz and soul.”
The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)
“The original tunes are where the real treats lurk though, and “Musette for the Last Fret” is a masterclass in cool lyricism crossed with a baroque sensibility.”
"Vibrantly original. The Song Of The Banjo will give listeners a new appreciation for the banjo that Brown plays incredibly well."
Portland Press Herald
PRESS THROUGH THE YEARS
"One of the greatest banjo players of our time...There's a beautiful calmness in her playing while burning your face off. She just stands there politely like a lady and rips it to shreds"
“ . . .banjo great Alison Brown . . . has pushed the boundaries of folk and bluegrass”
“Banjo music is seldom thought of as ‘mellow’ or, dare we say ‘pretty,’ but Alison Brown makes it so in the jazz-classical-pop-folk-Latin mix of the Alison Brown Quartet. As a true ground-breaker, (she’s) opening up whole new vistas for an instrument once solely associated with pickin’ n’ grinnin.’
“Brown’s delicate playing is a far cry from the clickety-clack patterns of traditional bluegrass. It is smart, clever music, so rooted one moment, then off on some fun, eccentric adventure.”
The Boston Globe
“In Brown’s hands, the banjo is capable of fluid musical phrases of boundless beauty.”
“Striking original melodies with bluegrass, jazz, classical, folk and world-music rhythms coursing throught them.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Roll over Flatt & Scruggs and tell Pete Seeger the news: Alison Brown is bringing the banjo back to jazz…she boldly goes with banjo where it’s never gone before. And it’s an ear-opening pleasure.”
The Hollywood Reporter
“Banjoist Alison Brown shows a gentle heart as much as a mean three-finger roll on smooth forays into classical, jazz and samba…She honors her tradition even as she cultivates it.”
" engaging freshness and energy… Most of the 15 tracks on Replay are less than four minutes long, and each is exquisitely composed and performed, like tiny, well-cut jewels in a musical treasure chest….Together they have created a deeply satisfying recording that is filled with intelligent, well-considered and very appealing music."
"The pre-eminent female banjoist in acoustic music"
Country Standard Time
"A genre bending banjoist...Brown and her special guests head down tricky side roads packed with minor-key melodies and unexpected turns...Brown isn't just offering a reverent look back at the banjo's past; she's also pointing out how wide open its future is. ***1/2"
"Bluegrass is lucky to claim a part of Alison's musical genius!"
Alison Brown demonstrates that she is among the banjo elite...a world class banjo player."
Vintage Guitar Magazine
"('Leaving Cottondale' w/ Bela Fleck is) 30 seconds of absolutely jaw-dropping twin-banjo counterpoint!"
“Anyone afraid of the banjo will be won over by Brown’s accessible art.”
“A stunning piece of work”
“There is a delicacy to Brown’s playing which her excellent band supports with precision and subtle strength. This is music that breates, easy listning in the postiive sense. It has humor. Hell, it has everything. One of the most refreshing sounds to emerge from Mayfest this year.”
The Glasgow Herald
"…for sheer panache, nothing quite matched the set by the Alison Brown Quartet…she actually seemed to have discover something original to do with folk. The wonder will never cease."
-- The London Times
"Banjo’s new first string…Brown’s sweet, fluid jazz fusions are as sophisticated as they are beguiling."
--The Boston Globe
"…the influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Wes Montgomery, and Bill Evans can be heard …she is breaking new ground and winning over folks who think they don’t like banjo."
-- Jazz Times
"Like James Taylor’s voice or B.B. King’s guitar, Alison Brown’s banjo is an instrument possessed of a unique sonic signature and an inescapable beauty....An artist who never ceases to delight."
-- Billboard Magazine
“...engaging set of instrumentals....rhythmically infectious....(Alison Brown) boldly goes with the banjo where it’s never gone before....an ear-opening pleasure!”
-- The Hollywood Reporter Live show review - Jazz Bakery, Culver City, CA
“Don't confuse opening act The Alison Brown Quartet with that other acoustic-music Alison (ace fiddler Krauss, that is). The ABQ is an innovative jazz combo in which Brown's virtuoso banjo plays counterpoint to John R. Burr's piano. But the sound is as far from David Grisman's dawg styles as it is from Flatt & Scruggs. ABQ ventures into bebop, hot club swing and a smidgen of contemporary bluegrass. It's a unique, contemporary sound, and should be a lively counterpoint to Doc Watson's traditionalism.” - New Haven Advocate
“Alison Brown is a Grammy-winning banjoist whose urbane sound travels so well she's appearing at both the Podunk Bluegrass Festival and Rockport Chamber Music Festival. She also runs Compass Records, a hip boutique label that ranges from bluegrass to Celtic to jazz.” – The Boston Globe
“One of bluegrass’s great banjo players, Brown is most notable for integrating jazz’s musical complexity with the bucolic mannerisms of bluegrass.” – The Village Voice
“Alison Brown left a career in investment banking for a life as a banjo musician. Anyone who thinks this was a foolish move hasn’t heard her play.” – The New Yorker
“Think of her as the bluegrass equivalent of jazz guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass.” – PopMatters
“How sweetly she has taught her banjo to sing, whether humming winkingly behind the melody or delivering it with a breathy humanness that is as technically awesome as it is melodically seductive.” – The Boston Globe
“Brown has mixed jazz and bluegrass via a virtuosic ability with an instrument that’s comfortable in both worlds, the five-string banjo.” – The Onion
“Banjo virtuoso Alison Brown has carved out a unique musical niche for herself by combining a number of conventional elements in a personal way: her jazzy style is straight-ahead without sounding either old-fashioned or even very traditional, and her compositions are richly complex without ever sounding avant-garde or even self-consciously progressive. Perhaps most impressive of all, she never seems defensive about the fact that she's using a five-string banjo to play jazz -- her jazziest material sounds effortless and natural, but she also has no compunction whatsoever about bringing bluegrass and Celtic elements into her sound.”– West Chester Daily Local (Philadelphia, PA)
“Considered one of the best banjo players on the planet… she blends jazz, Americana, folk and Celtic styles together in a sonic brew that is as groundbreaking as it is beautiful. – The Orange County Register
“How sweetly she has taught her banjo to sing, whether humming winkingly behind the melody or delivering it with a breathy humanness that is as technically awesome as it is melodically seductive.” – BOSTON GLOBE
The Alison Brown Quartet is like the missing link between Bela Fleck-style banjo playing and a piano quartet. It was joyous music to hear outside.” – SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
“Banjo doyenne Alison Brown said she felt “like the girl that won the lottery”, to have piano/bass/drums quartet performing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – and judging by the rapturous response to her half-hour opening set, the whole audience felt pretty blessed as well. Her instrument’s hillbilly image and role as the butt of countless jokes might seem to place it poles apart from orchestral refinement, but here they sounded like a marriage made in heaven.” – THE SCOTSMAN
“One of bluegrass’s great banjo players, Brown is most notable for integrating jazz’s musical complexity with the bucolic mannerisms of bluegrass.” – THE VILLAGE VOICE
“Brown brings the best of ensemble playing from jazz and marries it with the keenest bluegrass sensibilities . . . the ultimate treat for fans of either musical genre, but for the most part punters who like their music shaken, stirred and stretched until it aches gloriously.” - IRISH TIMES