Sagebrush Continuum – Alex Graf

Though Brooklyn native Alex Graf began his musical journey as a jazz guitarist, he’s more recently moved into the bluegrass and acoustic realm. Graf’s debut release, Sagebrush Continuum, is a collection of tunes centered around Alex’s flatpicking and improvisational sensibilities. 

The opening track, Rock Squirrel in a Twisted Juniper, is one of six pieces that Alex wrote. This tune is one of the project’s most straightforward compositions with a clear nod to Clarence White. As with all of the selections on this recording, this tune features Jacob Jolliff on mandolin and Evan Suiter on bass.

Towpath Road is another original from Graf and the only vocal number on this album. While Alex doesn’t have a particularly strong voice, this is a well written song with excellent imagery all throughout.

Back Up and Push is one that allows Alex to fully express his creativity on his instrument. With Graf stating the melody at the very beginning, both he and Jolliff enter into jazz territory with fun solos that venture farther out into left field.

One of the highlights of this album is Graf’s interpretation of Straight, No Chaser by the great Thelonious Monk. With a combination of ideas from both jazz and bluegrass, Graf’s rendition of this tune is remarkable. It’s a fine display of his improvisational gift.

Another standout track is Alex’s original tune René. Featuring just guitar, this track allows us to truly zero in on Graf’s tone and execution on the six string. It’s a beautiful piece from start to finish.

Sagebrush Continuum is an intriguing effort. Alex Graf’s creativity seems to have no bounds. Though others have fused acoustic music with other genres before, Alex’s combination of bluegrass and jazz grabs the best from both worlds. It makes for a fun listen.

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About the Author

Braeden Paul

Braeden Paul has been involved in various capacities of bluegrass music. A Texas native, Paul has been part of several Dallas-based bands as a mandolinist. He also serves on the board of directors of the Southwest Bluegrass Club in Grapevine, TX. As a writer, Braeden has also contributed numerous music reviews to the Bluegrass Society of America Facebook page, and is the co-author of Texas Bluegrass History: High Lonesome on the High Plains.