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In rotation: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, 'The Goat Rodeo Sessions'

November 11, 2011 |  5:44 pm

A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...

In rotation: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, 'The Goat Rodeo Sessions'

A “goat rodeo,” for anyone who may have skipped school that day, is an aviation term referring to “a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it,” according to UrbanDictionary.com.

These four high-flying instrumentalists couldn’t have picked a term more befitting the haunting, invigorating, often breathtaking clash of classical, bluegrass, folk, jazz and free-form music traditions they’ve pulled off together.

Bassist Meyer, fiddler Duncan and mandolinist Thile cut their teeth on bluegrass and country music, but long ago transcended any limitations of genre on their quest for new modes of expression on their respective instruments, while Ma has often applied his extraordinary classical chops to content beyond the standard repertoire.

The globe is their musical oyster, and you’ll hear echoes of Irish jigs, Virginia reels, Kentucky bluegrass, Appalachian ballads, Cajun two-steps, even some hints of traditional Chinese classical music, all of it unfurling with the in-the-moment creative freedom of jazz improvisation. Singer Aoife O’Donovan adds gossamer vocals to two tracks, “Here and Heaven” and “No One But You.”
Here’s hoping none of the survivors of this goat rodeo decide to walk away from such an inspired collaboration.

Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile
“The Goat Rodeo Sessions”
Sony Classical

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--Randy Lewis

Image: Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma and Stuart Duncan perform on album "The Goat Rodeo Sessions." Credit: Sony Masterworks

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