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About Time

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 1, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blue Night Records has released About Time, a collection of fourteen standards featuring the jazz mandolin of Don Stiernberg. Those unfamiliar with jazz mandolin need only to consider the possibilities presented by an instrument which is essentially a hybrid of the guitar and the violin. The mandolin has the range of the violin, but is played with a plectrum as is the guitar. The expressive capability of the mandolin in jazz can be extensive, as evidenced on About Time.

All of the instruments on About Time are acoustic, and the basic ensemble cut to cut consists of mandolin, two guitars, and string bass, augmented with guest appearances by several of Chicago's finest jazz musicians on saxophone, trumpet or flugelhorn, trombone, drums, and Latin percussion. Since no track has more than five instruments on it, the end result is a very mellow "chamber jazz" texture. The producers of About Time deliberately chose tunes which would be well suited to this instrumental combination, thereby generating a consistent mood from track to track. Their goal was to make an "album" that is at once relaxing or suitable as background music, and yet satisfying to the most discerning mainstream jazz fan. The unique qualities of the mandolin in combination with lyrical jazz horn solos and gentle percussion help achieve that goal.

Stiernberg combines influences from his mentor, jazz mandolin pioneer Jethro Burns, with those from such others as guitarists Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, and George Benson. He was influenced by vocalists Jack Teagarden and Chet Baker as well. Stiernberg's style, in tandem with featured guitarist Curt Morrison's Joe Pass and Jim Hall influenced explorations, yields a group sound which is not exactly swing, not exactly bebop, and certainly not avant-garde: just jazz, with melodic soloing and respect for the tradition of standard tunes. No attempt was made to duplicate earlier eras of jazz, even though the tunes were first published between 1908 and 1956 (most of them come from the 1940's). All the "cats" who played on About Time presented their own styles of improvisation, thereby giving the listener a fresh look at these tunes. With its enjoyable new arrangements, About Time reminds us of why these songs have earned their status as American classics.

Review

"Another milestone for jazz mandolin." -- David "Dawg" Grisman, About Time liner notes.

"Blue Night Records of Chicago has released Don Stiernberg's new jazz mandolin album entitled About Time, and it's really something. This is world class playing and a great collection of music. The kind of stuff we really dig." -- Scott Tichenor, Mandolin Caf


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 1, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: October 1, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CD Baby
  • ASIN: B00002CF8T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,305 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GRP on October 27, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The most innovative jazz-mandolin interpretation of the finest jazz ballads produced. After listening for decades to Stephane Grappelli, it is just refreshing and inspiring to listen to this CD - it's about time to have the next CD produced by this new record label company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Any one who likes cool jazz will love this album. Stiernberg plays his mandolin with great taste ala Stephane Grappelli and the sidemen are terrific. Listening to what this group does with some wonderful ballads is an unrivaled pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I love the idea of bringing back the classics in a clever and innovative form. My favorite is "Fever" ... Peggy Lee's song will never be the same ... a classic revived!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack Maturin on January 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Beyond the very musical playing, Stiernberg's relaxed and tastful interpretation of these songs shows off his great interpretive skills. Not just a showcase for his impeccable mandolin technique, the whole disc feels organic and natural. The side-people are outstanding and the recording is well-done. Get this CD - I love it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael I Kato (sta_kato@lava.net) on October 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Speaking from a musicians standpoint, I was inpressed with the musicianship, song selection, engineering, mastering, and overall production of this project. Don Steirnberg plays with taste and sensitivity in each tune. Do yourself a favor and check this one out!
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