Xenoblast

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Due to the energy, imagination, and sheer musicality of their conception, the oddity of having a mandolin as the lead instrumental voice of this daring ensemble wears off quickly. Mandolin player Jamie Masefield meshes beautifully with his bandmates Chris Doahlgren and Ari Hoenig on drums, all versatile musicians who are obviously as easy with pop forms as they are with a wide range of jazz styles. And like many young bands that have made their name on the "jam" circuit, the Jazz Mandolin Project makes the most of their eclectic nature, comfortably blending in bits of reggae, fusion, country, folk, and rock to enliven their songs. The shifting textures produced by ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Due to the energy, imagination, and sheer musicality of their conception, the oddity of having a mandolin as the lead instrumental voice of this daring ensemble wears off quickly. Mandolin player Jamie Masefield meshes beautifully with his bandmates Chris Doahlgren and Ari Hoenig on drums, all versatile musicians who are obviously as easy with pop forms as they are with a wide range of jazz styles. And like many young bands that have made their name on the "jam" circuit, the Jazz Mandolin Project makes the most of their eclectic nature, comfortably blending in bits of reggae, fusion, country, folk, and rock to enliven their songs. The shifting textures produced by Dahlgren's use of both acoustic and electric basses, along with Hoenig's subtle and explosive drumming, merges with material that ranges from the lyrical "Jovan" and the folk-tinged "Shaker Hill" to the swinging "Double Agent" and the full-throttle "Xenoblast." And what self-respecting jam band recording could do without an appearance by guitarist Trey Anastacio of Phish, who lends his guitar talents to the album's closing "Hang Ten."
All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Previous recordings for the Accurate label yielded much the same type of instrumental music as on this, their major label debut. The Jazz Mandolin Project is less about straight ahead, mainstream jazz, and more into exploring a certain amount of improvisation within rock oriented and compositional contexts. Mandolinist Jamie Masefield churns out incessant chords like a guitarist, and his single line inventions fall along conventional staccato tonality. Bassist Chris Dalhgren cuts back his more progressive inclinations, while Ari Hoening provides steadying rhythms. On the rockier front, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio cameos on the hard edged "Hang Ten," as he and Masefield crisscross ascending and descending scales. The title track is more a two chord surf rocker with avant and meditational breaks. More complex is the noisy intro with 5/4 ostinato bass to contrary 4/4 beat of "Igor." At their best developmentally is the multi-layered "Spiders" with a bass led ostinato, quirky 4/4 to 6/8 mandolin, groovin' bridge for single lines, juggernaut march or peaceful blues themes, and back to the ostinato. A caravan march with distinct Russian elements informs the rocky bridge of "Dromedary," and a slow, ponderous groove sets up "Jovan." At their most melodically centered is the very pleasant "Shaker Hill," reel flavored "The Milliken Way" with instrumental pop inclinations and endless chords, and the only legit jazz piece "Double Agent," with light boppish, nicely hued swing. Perhaps the band should change their name so as not to confuse the listener. There's more folkish power pop going on, but the unquestioned skilled musicianship of the three members is easy to peg. This writer finds their music tedious, but others may very well think it is refreshing, to each his/her own.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/9/2000
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 724352525126
  • Catalog Number: 25251

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Xenoblast (4:37)
  2. 2 Double Agent (6:27)
  3. 3 The Milliken Way (7:51)
  4. 4 Spiders (9:46)
  5. 5 Jovan (4:40)
  6. 6 Dromedary (6:41)
  7. 7 Shaker Hill (3:26)
  8. 8 Igor (7:49)
  9. 9 Hang Ten (4:59)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Jazz Mandolin Project Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Trey Anastasio Guitar
Chris Dahlgren Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Jamie Masefield Mandolin, Mandola
Ari Hoenig Percussion, Drums
Technical Credits
Trey Anastasio Engineer
Scott Petito Mastering
Jamie Masefield Producer
Paul Languedoc Engineer
Burton Yount Art Direction
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