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When you think of lead instruments in jazz, the electric mandolin probably doesn't spring to mind. However, if all its practitioners could match the dexterity and achieve the same feel as Michael Lampert, perhaps that would change. In Lampert's hands, the instrument sounds nothing like what fans of bluegrass would expect. Instead, it sounds closer to a guitar. While listening to Blue Gardenia, I subconsciously began to believe that the music was created by a six-string.
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.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com