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The Jazz Mandolin Project: The Deep Forbidden Lake

Offbeat yet organic glories shine through on the latest album from the Jazz Mandolin Project, The Deep Forbidden Lake, on which genre-flexible mandolinist Jamie Masefield is joined by Gil Goldstein on piano and accordion and Greg Cohen, working his grounding low-end magic. Between them, the unplugged trio produces a relaxed, rambling and easy-to-love set.

The jazz aspect ranges from Django Reinhardt’s “Tears” to the laconic lyricism of Billy Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book” and Horace Silver’s “Peace.” From the pop-folk end of the spectrum, Masefield aims high on the aesthetic food chain, with two songs apiece from icons Neil Young (provider of the album’s title tune), Tom Waits and jazz-cover-song favorite Radiohead, whose “Everything in Its Right Place” and “I Will” are moody departures from the otherwise American song catalogue.

Closing the album on an up note, replete with some quirky toy piano work from Goldstein, is Ornette Coleman’s “When Will the Blues Leave.” Here, Masefield goes furthest afield from mandolin norms. He takes his leave from blues and enters unknown harmonic regions, after which Goldstein and Cohen head deliciously left before the buoyant head returns. It’s a liberating moment.

Originally Published