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About Time by Don Stiernberg

Here's a truly novel and swinging CD. The thought of jazz mandolin is somewhat unknown to many fans including this writer. However, Don Stiernberg proves his point on the debut CD for Blue Night.

Don is a 20 year veteran of music and studied under the jazz mandolinist, Jethro Burns. He has also played on some 30 or more CDs and shared the stage with Chet Atkins, Johnny Gimble and Steve Goodman.

Make no mistake, this recording is "pure jazz" of the classic, straight ahead style. The base group is an acoustic trio. Don plays mandolin, rhythm guitar and a couple of vocals. He is joined by Curt Morrison, guitar and Jim Cox on bass.

Together the little unit churns out a delightful selection of 14 jazz standards that is guaranteed to please. I'll just rattle off some of the titles: Indian Summer, It Might As Well Be Spring, I'm Coming Virginia, Gone With The Wind, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, But Beautiful, and Perdido. You can check out the Blue Night website for a complete list and biographies.

The trio is joined by some excellent guests in a most tasteful way. One guest appears as a soloist on almost every track. These are some of Chicago's cream of the crop including Art Davis (flugelhorn), Russ Phillips (trombone), Kevin Connelley (drums), Steve Schneck (flugelhorn), Ritchie Fudoli (tenor sax) and Alejo Poveda (percussion).

Don Stiernberg is a master of his instrument and you might be tempted to suggest that he is the Martin Taylor of the mandolin. Guitarist Curt Morrison and bassist Jim Cox are simply outstanding. Curt takes a number of solos while Don drops the mandolin and backs up on rhythm guitar. This is a very fine example of what an acoustic group can do.

In closing, I must give credit to the cover designers, Tom Greensfelder and Kevin Dean. They turned out a beautifully outstanding "Art Deco" design.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Don Stiernberg
  • CD Title: About Time
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Blue Night Records
  • Musicians: Don Stiernberg (mandolin), Curt Morrison (guitar), Jim Cox (bass)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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