Just got back from the MaMaVigshow at the Lycian Center in Sugarloaf, New York. Those in the very packed but accommodating house of the Lycian were treated to a fantastic evening of manouche jazz inspired music. The players, Jamie Masefield of his famed Jazz Mandolin Project, esteemed guitarist Frank Vignola, and bass extraordinaire Gary Mazzaroppi , offer rich folk themes with the virtuosity and technique of true jazz masters. Thankfully, their sound is not an acquired taste. You need not possess a PHD in music theory to appreciate the terrific balance of sounds rooted in many styles of world music.
Read on for Bradley "BMan" Pingѐl's full concert review!
The accomplished playing of the trio exemplifies the synergism of music textures created by the combining of possibly non-traditional instruments. I hinted earlier about the mandolin. Yes, Jamie plays mandolin, and does so with vigor and comfort in a jazz setting that makes one wonder why it hasn't always been a staple of the jazz community. Certainly in the circles Jamie runs he has created a name for himself with the application of the jazz mandolin. I say why not. Jazz allows the freedom to incorporate many playing styles, why not a combination of different strings—a mandolin can after all mimic the tunings of a few different instruments.
That said, this trio is not necessarily a jazz group with a gimmick of the mandolin. I would say that their overall style is rooted heavily in folk music and the relaxed "format" of jam. The problem I have with placing such restrictions on their talent is that they can easily break from this and tinder your senses with extremely technical passages, great harmony, or dynamic changes. Frank is so adept at manipulating strings on a fret board that he always seemed to be a mile ahead of the audience. Focused and controlled, mistake is far from him. Gary is his own entertainment, and could have easily performed the show solo. His bass playing speaks to the crowd and is never lost in the mix of the higher timbre instruments.
Overall, the performance was exceptional and you can sense that the three really enjoy bringing their art to the people. Certainly, the overwhelming applause affirmed that the people appreciated the art. I highly recommend catching MaMaVig at one of their future shows.
Bradley "BMan" Pingѐl