Just how does one tango in the jungle? Well, if the Jazz Mandolin Project's newest album Jungle Tango is any guideline, you have to be willing to accept constant musical challenges and stay oh-so-light on your feet. The improvisational group will be performing at the downtown club/bistro 32 Bleu, featuring Jon Fishman, legendary drummer for the jam band Phish.
Forget what you think you know about the mandolin. Prepare to adjust what you know about jazz. Not fitting comfortably into any one box, for years the Jazz Mandolin Project has been courageously delving into the musical unknown. Atypical of accepted approaches to both mediums, the band continues to break fresh musical ground, combining mainstream and avant-garde jazz with improvisational rock, funk and world music compositions.
"Before recording this material, we had many conversations about how much indistinguishable and uninventive music was on the scene these days," said mandolinist and founder Jamie Masefield. "We decided the goal of this CD was to highlight the elements that make us unique, that sound like no one else and showcase our own approach to improvising."
Formed in 1993, the Jazz Mandolin Project has had a revolving carousel of members, with Masefield being the constant throughout. The current incarnation of the Project has expanded to include upright bassist Danton Boller, drummer Ari Hoenig, percussionist Chris Lovejoy, and Gil Goldstein on piano and accordion. Fishman, known to Phish fans as the Frank Zappa addict with a jones for wearing frocks onstage, was also a onetime drummer for the band and now joins the Project for sporadic tour appearances.
The band's style has grown because of what Masefield has called their "unique approach to improvising that has developed through countless performances across the country."
capsule The Jazz Mandolin Project featuring Jon Fishman of Phish
Wednesday, June 9, 9 p.m.
32 Bleu. 32 S. Tejon St.
$16 in advance, $18 day of show