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Bluegrass Banjo Player Alison Brown in Concert at Juniata

(Posted January 31, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Bluegrass banjo musician (and former investment banker) Alison Brown brings her five-string banjo and the three other musicians who comprise the Alison Brown Quartet to Juniata College at 8:15 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Artist Series, please call (814) 641-3605. General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

Alison Brown went from picking stocks to picking out notes with her band as she gave up a lucrative career in investment banking for the life of a musician. Her latest album, "Replay," incorporates jazz influences into a traditional bluegrass band.

The album was originally taped as a rehearsal of the band's favorite performance tunes that was subsequently released to superlative reviews. The bluegrass tunes on the album adds jazz tones such as bebop and the swing music associated with guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt.

Brown has recorded seven albums, including the Grammy-winning "Fair Weather," "Out of the Blue" and "Simple Pleasures." Brown and her band have been featured on such television shows as "Sunday Morning" and "Jazz Central." Her music also has been featured on National Public Radio programs such as "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition."

Brown started her professional life in business, earning a degree from Harvard and an M.B.A. from UCLA. She started her banking career with Smith Barney and joined Union Station in 1988.

In 1995, Brown and her husband Gary West, an accomplished musician who plays bass in the Quartet, started the independent label Compass Records. Together the couple has release a series of acclaimed albums by other artists playing such varied musical genres as funk, jazz, Celtic and folk music.

Brown started her career playing banjo for Union Station, the backing band for bluegrass star Alison Krauss. She also played as a member of rock singer Michelle Shocked's band. Brown released her first solo album in 1990.

A critic from USA Today described Brown as "a true groundbreaker, opening up whole new vistas for an instrument once associated with pickin' and grinnin'."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.