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The Jazz Mandolin Project

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 20, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

The Jazz Mandolin Project is led by mandolinist Jamie Masefield with a rotating cast of other musicians. Although not really a "jazz" band they are influenced by a variety of styles. Formed in 1993, the Burlington Vermont based, improvisational ensemble's self-titled first album was released which included Gabe Jarrett on drums and Stacey Starkweather on bass in 1996 . For their next album Masefield then assembled a new lineup featuring drummer Jon Fishman (best known for his work in jam band icon Phish ) and upright bassist Chris Dahlgren, recording the LP Tour de Flux; In 1999 Blue Note Records released their 3rd album, Xenoblast. In 2003 they released a heavily groove, drum and bass influenced album called Jungle Tango which included such players as Ari Hoenig and Danton Boller and in 2005 Masefield returned to a more acoustic sound with The Deep Forbidden Lake which features 10 of his favorite cover tunes by artists such as Radiohead, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Django Reinhardt and others. On that album he was accompanied by pianist Gil Goldstein and bassist Greg Cohen. Since 2006 JMP has been largely focused on a multimedia performance "How Much Land does a Man Need?" telling one of Leo Tolstoy's most famous short stories through film, narration and live musical accompaniment. The group has been performing it at performing arts centers, schools and arts fests throughout the country. The project has recorded 6 albums to date. They are taper friendly, allowing audience recordings at their shows.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CD Baby
  • ASIN: B0006BGWWS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was attracted to this by a playing of "The Country Open" on the "Fine Tuning" XM radio show. Mostly peppy tunes with nice percussion propulsion. Shades of New Age and David Grisman's Dawg Jazz. The material here often reminds me of Sam Bush's albums. Unfortunately without his great vocals but still stands well on its own. (PS the Fine Tuning channel can best be described as exponentially eclectic - David Bowie, then Andrea Bocelli, then some blues, etc., etc)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite a few genuinely lovely moments, I only gave Jazz Mandolin Project two stars. Jazz at its best lays bare the soul of the instrument. This cd utterly failed to do that. List of other complaints: 1) use of an electric mandolin on some songs, 2) very little tremolo, 3) inclusion of live versions of two songs already included as studio recordings, 4) at times too noisy, 5) most of the loveliest moments almost too quiet to hear. This is my least favorite of my nine mandolin cds, and perhaps my least favorite jazz cd as well.
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Format: Audio CD
Reminds me quite a lot of Phish at times. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. It's a Vermont thing, I guess.
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