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About Time

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 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

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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,785 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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6 customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

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January 20, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
January 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
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March 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
August 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
October 27, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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October 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
One person found this helpful
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