Simon Mayor and the Mandolinquents — Dance of the Comedians
(Acoustic Music CDACS 056, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01
The Mandolinquents are an acoustic, mandolin based (how did you guess?) quartet that’s been playing together off and on for a dozen years or more, and this – documenting one of their live shows in the UK from 2007 – is an excellent point of introduction. Led by Simon Mayor (mandolin, violin, guitar), the group also features Hillary James (mandobass and occasional vocals), Gerald Garcia (classical guitar), and Richard Collins (mandolin, banjo, mandobass); each of the four have respective solo careers, CD releases and other musical endeavors, which probably goes far to explain why this is only their second group release in ten years. They play an eclectic mixture of classical arrangements, traditionals, folk tunes, originals by the various band members, and even a couple jazz numbers, all laced with a healthy dose of musical humor, with comedic banter between the songs to keep things on the fun side (the comedy bits have their own track indexes, so party poopers can program them out if they so wish). These are outstanding players all, and they switch their instrumentation around enough to keep things interesting; they approach the material with consummate professionalism, but never take themselves too seriously. James’ vocals on the four or five cuts she sings on are absolutely delightful, and go far toward making this an enjoyable set from start to finish. A solid recommendation for fans of acoustic string ensemble work.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more