Jake Schepps: An Evening in the Village

Album review
Jake Schepps: An Evening in the Village

Jake Schepps

An Evening in the Village

Label: Fine Mighty
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

Whatever you want to call the music that people like Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, and Yo-Yo Ma have been recording the past decade, it’s taken a hard left into composer Bela Bartok’s world. Banjos and Bartok met in 1990 thanks to Bill Crofut, but this time the resulting sound is closer to the Appalachia Waltz album. Schepps has rearranged Bartok’s settings of Hungarian folk music (and one American tune) for banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, cello, and bass, and turned them into something new and appealing. Straight transcription is blended with improvisation; the solos feel laid back, but the rhythm section keeps a slight tension beneath the surface. My main complaint is that the energy level of “Progressive Acoustic” music has never matched that of its bluegrass roots: the style would be better off leaning more toward Bill Monroe than Mozart. Also, many of the tunes here are on the short side: more improvisation would have been welcome. Still, it’s a fascinating, enjoyable album of polished playing. Melancholy isn’t passed over, nor is Bartok’s particular harmonic zaniness (try “Mikrokosmos #153”); “Stick Game” has a sweet swing to it. Sound is just a bit dry and bass- heavy

More Info

  • primary artist, Jake Schepps
  • CD

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