Review by Steven Stone
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CD Stock Number: Sojourner Records J 2001-1
Sometimes I'm just a little bit slow. First time I listened to the CD It took
me half the album to realize that Michael Lampert plays a mandolin! The cover
has a picture of Telecaster-like Schwab four-string electric mando, but I just assumed it was a guitar. He sounds unlike any mandolin player
I have ever
heard. No tremolo, and no double-stops. Instead Lampert's tone is rich and thick, not unlike what you'd expect to hear from a vintage P-90-equipped
Gibson ES-175. Mandolin like? Not one bit – more like Barney Kessel with a
Lampert's music is straight-ahead jazz situated somewhere between late swing
and early Bop; In other words, serious jazz. He has a masters degree from New
England Conservatory of Music, and has performed with Barbara Reed, Michele Cummings and Lenny Carlson. Joining Lampert on his first CD where he is the
leader are Tom Bethke on electric and acoustic guitar, Tim Emmons on double bass, Simeon Pillich on contra bass, and Jeff Fish, Thomas White, and Roberto
Vizcaino on drums and percussion. All the arrangements were worked out by Lampert and Tom Bethke in the traditional jazz method "I'll solo, then you'll
solo, then we'll go back to the melody, then we're out of there."
Rick Cunha recorded and mixed Jacaranda at the Rainbow Garage in Glen, California. Ramon Breton mastered the album at Oceanview Digital Mastering in
West Los Angeles. The sonic result is wonderful ambience reminiscent of the best Wes Montgomery LP's on Riverside records back in the late 50's.
If you like mainstream guitar jazz in the tradition of Johnny Smith or Joe Pass, You owe it to yourself to hear Michael Lampert's Jacaranda. You won't
even mind that he plays a mandolin.
Sound Quality: 95