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The Jazz Mandolin Project: Xenoblast

Jim Santella By

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Jamie Masefield’s string jazz trio swings through a package of interesting themes that range from folk history to ride-cymbal-mainstream-jazz and on to blazing hot, electronic, backbeat jazz-rock. His compositions feature lovely melodies that adhere to specific impressions. These mental pictures become focal points for group improvisation and repetitious jam sessions. Masefield’s vivid imagery leaves no doubt for the listener, as in "Spiders," which ranges from open and natural to dense and mysterious. "The Milliken Way" drives through three styles, as its folk tune basis turns dramatic with a driving jam session and then becomes more emotional. Key changes and increased volume build the piece toward a frenzied climax. Elsewhere, as on "Jovan," Masefield offers a touch of the blues while telling stories by using characteristic instrumental phrases. Applying both electronic and acoustic instruments to the session, Masefield’s trio gives Xenoblast a many-sided approach. "Hang Ten" presses forward with a driving rock-styled drumbeat, blazing guest guitarist and powerful ocean currents swirling all around. The Jazz Mandolin Project offers familiar elements wrapped around swingin’ melodies: something for all.

Title: Xenoblast | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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