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Inspired by the PBS television series about the U.S. Civil War, this solo album by pianist Bill Carrothers' presents American patriotic tunes in a somber straightforward manner. Adding his personal thoughts on the war's meaning to society, the pianist embellishes melodies here, deepens harmonies there, and provides textural changes appropriate to his interpretation.
While most of the selections are offered in a traditional straightforward manner, several receive obvious changes. The familiar "Dixie" gets a heartfelt dissonant harmonic restructuring that evokes emotional reactions far different from those normally associated with the anthem. Rather than inviting patriotic joy, the altered tunes may convey feelings of helplessness, despair, sorrow, or even fear. While "The Yellow Rose of Texas" is presented in a simple straightforward manner, "All Quiet Along The Potomac" receives the infusion of dissonant tonal relationships, which may indicate that the quiet along the river isn't what it seems to be. For "John Brown's Body" Carrothers employs a melodica to properly express the sorrow and grief that stemmed from both sides of that conflict.
"Kingdom Coming" is offered as a jazz presentation, and both "7th Cavalry March," and "Battle Cry of Freedom (Reprise)" contain jazz sections with tremolos, bent notes, syncopation, and improvised phrases. Carrothers, long time professional jazz pianist and history student, has put his personal touch on the songs that carried America through a tragic period in history. You can find more information about The Blues And The Greys on Bill Carrothers' web page athttp://www.carrothers.com/ .
Track Listing: Tenting on the Old Campground; Battle Cry of Freedom; 7th Cavalry March; Angel Band; Dixie; Marching Through Georgia; Flag of Columbia; John Brown's Body; All Quiet Along the Potomac; Lorena; Yellow Rose of Texas; Bonnie Blue Flag; Carry Me Back to Old Virginia; Battle Cry of Freedom (Reprise); Somebody's Darling; Marching Through Georgia (Reprise); The Vacant Chair; Kingdom Coming; Weeping Sad and Lonely; Hard Times Come Again No More; Jordan Is a Hard Road to Travel.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.