The banjo once was thought the most country of instruments, its fast-decaying, chattering twang too redolent of hillbilly hollers to transition into nonbluegrass musical settings. Bela Fleck’s fusion and world projects revealed a fresh landscape of sophisticated possibilities. This new sonic world is Alison Brown’s playground. The Grammy-winning Brown shares Fleck’s affinity for the warmer, more lyrical side of the banjo, where note-mad country picking gives way to a softer, more buttery sound. Unconventionally, her quartet is a conventional jazz lineup — piano, bass and drums. Her country, folk and Celtic compositions are thoroughly melodic with sections allowing for brief flights of focused improvisation. “If you are into jazz you may think it sounds like bluegrass,” Brown says. “But if you are into bluegrass you think it sounds like jazz.” Brown brings her engaging, genre-defying music to Jam Inc. at In Your Ear Studios (1813 E. Broad St.) Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7:30. Tickets are $25 advance and $30 at the door). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the event’s traditional pot luck feast. — Peter McElhinney
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