Michael Lampert: Blue Gardenia (2005)
However, putting aside the issue of instrumentation, it should be said that Lampert and his quartet play strong, straightforward jazz with the blues an ever-present force. Their take on Fats Domino's immortal "I'm Walking is rollicking and infectious, with spry piano work from Vern Waldron and jumping drums from Jeff Fish. Lampert checks in with a brief but insistent solo before yielding to bassist Timothy Emmons. At the other end of the spectrum is the lovely and delicate title track. Waldron and Lampert seem to complete each other's thoughts, while Emmons stands out by virtue of expertly keeping time and still being delightfully unpredictable and melodic.
One of the true joys of jazz is to hear musicians explore their instruments and reveal new possibilities. Blue Gardenia provides the pleasure of hearing the electric mandolin played with imagination and great skill. Even better is the fact that the album is much more than just a technical exercise. It showcases musicians playing with more than enough feeling to match their instrumental prowess.
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Track Listing: Get Out Of Town; Summer Samba; La-Dee-Da; Animation; Blue Gardenia; I'm Walkin'; Laura; East Of The Sun
Personnel: Michael Lampert: electric mandolin; Vern Waldron: piano; Jeff Fish: drums and percussion; Timothy Emmons: acoustic bass; Tom Bethke: nylon: string guitar (tracks 2, 8).
Record Label: Sojourner