Simon Mayor — The Art of Mandolin
(Acoustic Music CDACS 065, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-02-10British mandolin master Mayor offers this collection of fifteen tunes, a selection of four centuries worth of classical adaptations and traditional pieces, a half dozen originals, a beautiful Django Reinhardt tune, and even Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” here arranged as a mandolin septet with guitars. Mayor plays mandola, mandocello, guitar, and of course mandolin, often multi-tracked; joining him is regular collaborator Hillary James on mandobass, double bass, and guitar, as well as contributing vocals on the beautiful “Brezairola,” a French folk lullaby from Chants d’Auvergne, arranged by Joseph Canteloube in the 1920s. No amplifiers here, this is an entirely acoustic set, with one live piece (“Bolero” by Calace) opening. Mayor’s original “Taxi Horn Rag” fits nicely with the Joplin tune, drawing inspiration from its style, while other Mayor originals here tend to reference folk and classical stylings. The Irish traditional “Lord Mayo” receives an introspective arrangement here for solo mandocello, while Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 2” gets the impressive full mandolin family treatment. A Mayor-James composition “Nocturne in Blue and Gold” is one of the disc’s most hauntingly beautiful originals. The booklet includes ‘Mandolin Journey,’ a short four-centuries-in-three-pages history of the mando-family of instruments from their origins in the Mediterranean to the flat-back models pioneered by Gibson in the 20th century. In all, like all of mayor’s previous releases, this is a thoroughly enjoyable collection sure to please all fans of acoustic stringed instrumental music.
Related artist(s): Simon Mayor
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more