Punch Brothers play string instruments that are often associated with the bluegrass tradition, and it’s true that the players in the ensemble are all first-rate musicians in that mode. But what the group does has as much in common with gypsy swing, jazz improv, classical Romanticism and even chamber pop.
At times you might think this acoustic quintet sounds more like Radiohead than Bill Monroe. They can blend their voices like the Beach Boys, too. Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile fronts the group. Thile has led numerous musical lives already, having emerged as a bluegrass child prodigy, then as a member of Nickel Creek. He also released a record of J.S. Bach violin partitas and sonatas played on mandolin. In 2016 Thile took the bold move of becoming the host of the venerable weekly radio variety show “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Genre purists who get worked up about anything ambitious, cross-pollinated or unabashed in its complexity will be better off seeking out any of the numerous talented string groups out there that would prefer to pretend it’s 1928. See Punch Brothers at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, 2132 Hillside Road, Storrs, on Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $35. 860-486-4226 or jorgensen.uconn.edu