Neither Jenna Mammina nor Rolf Sturm, together or solo, are strangers to these pages. Mammina released Under the Influence (MGR) in 2000 and Strum offered us his superb Young (Water Street Music) in 2016. The two of them showed up with Spark (Water Street Music) in 2015. Sturm is a nylon-string guitar specialist perfectly suited to provide foil to the coquettish and intelligent vocals of Mammina. Their Spark was well received and featured old and new music presented in new and often genre-jolting ways.
On Begin to Dance, the pair pick up where they left off with Spark, this time peppering jazz standards like "It's Only Love" and "All My Tomorrows" with BJ Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling" mashed up with Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." Sturm's guitar playing brings whatever is necessary to the songs to support Mammina's every whim. He is equally capable of providing the bare-bones chording for the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' it to the Streets" and the pleasant filigree he offers in Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me." But it is the jazz tunes where the two excel. The pair hits their collective stride on "L-O-V-E" with Sturm turning in an exceptional hot-club solo. Mammina and Sturm make a great duo who program their performances with great thought and a true sense of humor.
Track Listing: Hooked on a Feeling/Black Hole Sun; It’s Only Love; Begin to Dance; Dancing on the Ceiling; I Want You To Want Me; We Hesitate; Takin’ it to the Streets; All My Tomorrows; A Place That I Call Home; L-O-V-E; Hello, It’s Me; Strollin’; Bluer Than Blue; Crazy Fingers; Give Me Love.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.