Pete Wernick & Flexigrass – What The [Niwot Records, 2007]

Pete Wernick & Flexigrass - What TheBanjo player Pete Wernick has performed with some of the biggest names in both the bluegrass and rock worlds: Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Phish, Jerry Garcia, Bill Monroe, and many others. Besides that he is a bestselling author, songwriter, teacher, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

With his band Flexigrass – formerly known as the Live Five – he combines elements from bluegrass, swing and jazz and mixes them into a very pleasant stew.

Not only the banjo plays a prominent role on their latest CD: the vibraphone (played by Greg Harris) and clarinet (Bill Pontarelli) form an integral part of the Flexigrass sound, making the meeting of bluegrass and jazz even more interesting. Their version of “Bye bye blackbird” may be a bit too easy listening, but the cover of Gram Parson’s “Luxury liner” is well worth a listen.
In the end “What the” is more trad jazz than bluegrass, but all in all it’s a very fun album. Great cover art too!

Marco Kalnenek

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