Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Project Title: "Mark O'Connor Thirty-Year Retrospective"
Artist: Mark O'Connor, Chris Thile, Byron House, Bryan Sutton
Produced by: Mark O'Connor
Record Label: OMAC Records
All songs composed and arranged by Mark O'Connor except where noted in the Song List.
CD One (running time 76:17)
1. A Bowl of Bula
2. Tom & Jerry (Public Domain arranged by Mark O'Connor)
3. Flight Home
4. Johnny Appleseed
5. Jerusalem's Ridge (Bill Monroe)
6. Mark's Waltz
7. Jesse Polka (Public Domain arranged by Mark O'Connor)
8. Swingin' on the 'Ville
9. Send Rainbows
10. Caprice No. 4 in D Major
11. March of the Pharaohs
12. Macedonia (Mark O'Connor and Sam Bush)
13. Song of the Liberty Bell
14. Stone from which the Arch was Made
15. One Winter's Night (Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer)
CD Two (running time (76:27)
2. Butterfly's Day Out (Arrangement Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer)
3. Emily's Reel (Arrangement Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer)
4. Midnight Interlude
5. Picking in the Wind
6. October Impressions
7. Sopping' the Gravy (Public Domain arranged by Mark O'Connor)
8. On a June Day
9. From Panama to El Pichincha
10. Into the Walls of Mandoness
11. Don't Let the Deal Go Down (Public Domain arranged by Mark O'Connor)
12. Soft Gyrations
13. Granny White Special
14. Appalachia Waltz
Magic graced the Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts, Blair School of Music, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville when a stage full of music virtuoso's got together to record a retrospective of Mark O'Connor's life long work. Chris Thile on Mandolin, Bryan Sutton on Guitar, Byron House on Bass and Mark O'Connor on Fiddle; each a genius on their chosen instrument, each an innovator and improviser, and each critically acclaimed and without comparisons. Recorded live on July 3, 4, & 5th because schedules were impossible to coordinate with the career challenges to juggle between these "in high demand" musicians.
Mark O'Connor is a gifted composer whose body of work span across a wide berth of genres from Classical, to Jazz, to Swing, to Bluegrass all often blended together in unique compositions. He is considered on par with some of the most venerated composers known and one of the most influential talents of this generation.
Mark hand picked the musicians featured here on this CD because of his admiration of their musical virtuosity. Furthermore, the project differed from prior collections of Mark's work which overdubbed each of the instruments played by Mark. As an ensemble, Mark believed Thile, House and Sutton's command of the music and playing styles meshed with his own. These guys are brilliant in lending their innovative interpretation of O'Connor's work. Each piece in the collection is intricately woven together which is amazing when you consider it was recorded live and unrehearsed.
My favorite cut is Macedonia which is one of the pieces I heard performed live by these same four musicians at Merlefest 2004. After hearing that set, I simply had to have this CD and it is one of my most played CDs. Each listen reveals new depth with amazing call and answer trades between the musicians. Leads exchange frequently between the instruments while the others support the melody without intrusion on the lead. Furthermore, egos were left behind so no one musician is vying to musically out do the others but rather all play as a cohesive unit.
Other standouts pieces in the collection are A Bowl of Bula, Mark's Waltz, Caprice No.4 In D Major, Jerusalem's Ridge on the 1st disc and Bowtie, Picking on the Wind, Granny White Special, and Into The Walls Of Mandoness.
For a larger selection of CD's by Mark O'Connor look here: