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Tony Trischka Band

New Deal – 2003 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Tony Trischka Band

Anyone familiar with the musical wizardry of Tony Trischka knows that he doesn't believe in boundaries. Ever the innovator, Trischka has made a career of boldly going where few banjo players have gone before. Influenced by Earl Scruggs and an early mentor to Bela Fleck, Trischka loves to make music by going well beyond the traditional borders of bluegrass music.

The TT Band consists of Trischka on banjo, and a superb group of musicians on drums, bass, guitar, flute and sax. Though largely instrumental, TTB is joined by vocalists David Johanson on "44," and Jennifer Kimball on "Northern Falling." Band member Rolf Sturm and Laurel Masse (Manhattan Transfer) contribute vocals to the energetic romp, "Brey's In The Cradle," which features Trischka on pedal steel as well as banjo. Don't expect bluegrass here. A unique rendition of the Scruggs' classic, "Earl's Breakdown," and "Hand Me My Banjo Down," with Loudon Wainwright on vocals, is as close as it gets. Rather, the album is a wonderful collection of mostly TTB originals that offer a mix of jazz, pop and R & B sensitivities.

Exciting results often come when musicians 'look beyond' the conventional. That is what Tony Trischka has been doing for years. The result here is an album full of exciting, interesting and enjoyable sounds.