Album Review of

Written by Robert Silverstein
April 9, 2024 - 3:18pm EDT
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The place where instrumental bluegrass meets Americana meets light swing, new acoustic and modern chamber music is where you will find Jesse Jones and his ensemble, known as Ezra Quartet. The group lineup consists of Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), Max Allard (banjo), Craig Butterfield (double bass) with group composer and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Jones on both guitar and piano.

There are echoes of Béla Fleck, and other well-known bluegrasser instrumentalists, yet this special quartet is quite well-rehearsed and their repertoire on their debut album is nothing less than a revelation. That rural, rustic sensibility is quite intact on the 9-track, 40 minute Ezra. That fact that the CD is quite Americana-flavored makes it a special jumpstart album certain to create new interest in the genre.

The album was released on the Adhyâropa music label, based in New York. Interestingly, Jesse Jones is a music professor at Oberlin college which fortuitously was the school that Dave Brubeck recorded his famous Jazz At Oberlin Lp back in 1953. With some tracks sounding inspired by that fabled time, the debut release of Ezra gives Bluegrass-inclined jazzers and contemporary instrumental fretboard buffs something to cheer about.