Bluegrass instruments like the mandolin, banjo, and fiddle have long been associated genres outside of the high lonesome. This instrumentation has also permeated the jazz and classical worlds as evidenced by the lifetimes of David Grisman, Chris Thile, Bela Fleck, Vassar Clements, Joe Venuti, Bob Wills and on and on. Mandolinist Chris Biesterfeldt places himself in a traditional jazz trio sans the piano and pushes the perimeter of mandolin-centered musical styles well beyond just jazz, though the better part of Urban Mandolin focuses on jazz and its rich and productive history.. Biesterfeldt displays broad and deep chops ...read more
A mandolin player opening his first album as leader with Dizzy Gillespie's mercurial Bebop"? Wow! That takes a lot of (fill in the blank). But Chris Biesterfeldt, best known as a guitarist, and for Broadway shows at that, not only sails through those tricky changes but handily nails everything else on this impressive trio album whose other protagonists are bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Eric Halvorson. The mandolin, not exactly a guitar but somewhere in the neighborhood, is most closely linked to bluegrass music, which makes Biesterfeldt's decision to set aside the guitar, at least temporarily, to ...read more
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