Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Swingrass '83

  • Swingrass '83 [Antilles, 1983] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Swingrass '83 [Antilles, 1983]
"Progressive" folk/country/bluegrass guys and gals are always watering down Western swing that could use some beefing up, and from there their jazzy moves go downhill to various mood enhancers and cocktails for carrot-juicers. But here supereclectic jazz bassist Buell Neidlinger mixes with fiddler Richard Greene and mandolin whiz Andy Statman, both of whom do astute work whenever they're given the chance, and together they play three of the sprightliest Ellington tunes you'll ever hear, as well as three of the drollest Monks. Drummer Peter Erskine is too heavy-handed for the gig, but at least he's a jazzman of sorts, and though tenor player Marty Krystall's solo space impinges on the mood a little, he's got the spirit too. Even Peter Ivers's slightly klutzy harmonica fits in. Left-field instrumental of the year. A-