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Three acoustic string players with percussion make a fine jazz quartet: mandolin, guitar, bass and drums. A rarity in jazz circles, the mandolin has a voice higher than guitar. It's played in the same manner, except for the tremolos that are required to sustain notes. Don Stiernberg caresses a melody with light, fluid movements. The instrument requires that you keep moving. Stiernberg does so with agility, embellishing each melodic fragment to completion. His quartet swings as Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli did; interpreting classic songs and making them come alive. Guest artists join the quartet individually to provide added solo space and dynamic changes in timbre. The horn players contrast with the quartet's gentler approach. Except for several pieces that feature muscular trumpeter Art Davis, Stiernberg carries the lead. His instrument provides a sound not frequently used in jazz; however, this album proves that itshould. Half of the tunes are available as audio samples from the label's web site .
Track Listing: Where or When; More Then You Know; Estat
Personnel: Don Stiernberg- mandolin, rhythm guitar; Curt Morrison- guitar; Jim Cox- bass; Kevin Connelley- drums; Art Davis- flugelhorn, trumpet; Ron DeWar, Richie Fudoli- tenor saxophone; Russ Phillips- trombone; Alejo Poveda, Geraldo deOliveira- percussion; Greg "Spots" Studebaker- cornet.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.