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.
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more