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Mark O'Connor and friends jam out in 'Jam Session'

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World-renowned acoustic musicians Mark O'Connor (violin), Chris Thile (mandolin), Frank Vignola (guitar), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Jon Burr (bass) and Byron House (bass) can captivate audiences with just their instruments. But for them, jamming is a meeting of musical minds and genres in communication, a perfect example of holistic American music. Their forthcoming CD 'Jam Session,' on OMAC Records, offers "dazzling" (Wall Street Journal) live acoustic recordings that combine bluegrass and gypsy jazz as never before on disc.

The result: a "jam band" for the ages comparable in its rhythmic intoxication and stratospheric solos with the Grateful Dead's 'Live/ Dead' or the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie/Bud Powell/ Charles Mingus/ Max Roach 'Jazz at Massey Hall.' Perhaps no better jam recordings have been captured on acoustic string instruments in recent memory. Tracks include "Gypsy Fantastic," reminiscent of O'Connor's mentor Stephane Grappelli; the bossa nova-tinged "Soft Gyrations"; and the country swing of "Don't Let The Deal Go Down."
A standout track, the slow, sly "In The Cluster Blues," features Chris Thile in what O'Connor calls "the greatest improvised mandolin solo of all time," two spectacular guitar solos and O'Connor's soaring and masterful blues violin improvisation. "Sometimes improvisational exchanges between musicians can escalate to a fever pitch," O'Connor says in the liner notes. "A spontaneous conversation between the players can become an art form." That's exactly what happens on 'Jam Session.'

Many of the melodies on 'Jam Session' bring to mind those showcased in his 'O'Connor Violin Method Vol. I and Vol. II', released this past fall, the first of its kind to use America's classical, jazz and folk music to educate the next generation of musicians so they can feel comfortable playing music in many idioms for a lifetime. Along with a busy concert schedule, O'Connor will be conducting teacher training seminars for the O'Connor Violin Method throughout the spring. Click here for Mark O'Connor's complete schedule:
The tracks on 'Jam Session', which O'Connor produced, are live concert recordings from Merkin Hall, New York City; Blair School of Music, Nashville; South Street Theatre, Morristown, NJ; and the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Lyons, CO.