Jungle Tango – Jazz Mandolin Project
Lenapee Records 0009
The Jazz Mandolin Project has gone through a variety of shifts in personnel
and musical directions, with frontman Jamie Masefield as the only constant.
Jungle Tango documents their current musical state, or at least one
aspect of it, unapologetically.
This disc includes four segments of a lengthy jam mixed in with six
compositions. It's notable that the improvs are barely distinguishable from
the rest of the CD. I would not have guessed at their origins if Masefield
hadn't revealed them in the publicity material. The jams include lengthy
stretches with little or no variation, certainly a rare occurrence in group
Masefield and company seem concerned with exploring sonic rather than
melodic terrain, and with evoking isolated, generally noir-ish moods rather
than eventful dramas. Much of the jazz content here comes from guest
keyboardist/accordionist Gil Goldstein — otherwise, there's not much
blowing over changes to be found. The mood here is closer to the post-rock
of the Tortoise school than the jazz wing of the jamband contingent. "Oh
Yeah" is the most accessible piece, and one of the few to offer both tension
and release as Masefield's solo gives way to an effective B section on the
dominant, but even this piece fades rather than offering a conclusive
This lack of resolution can be frustrating, but it does make a statement.
Not many jambands, much less jazz mandolin trios, can make such a claim.