For a number of years now the Jazz Mandolin Project has courageously been setting itself apart from what people expect from the mandolin. Atypical of accepted traditional approaches to the instrument and atypical of what aficionados call jazz, this project continues to break ground in its most significant recording yet (release date: March 25). "Jungle Tango" is somehow able to speak to skateboarders and artists in search of sophistication at the same time. Put out on the group’s own label, Lenapee Records, and nationally distributed by Redeye Distribution, this offering of 10 finely crafted songs and spontaneous improvisations (46:25 total playing time) has something for everyone, from rock to drum and bass and jungle music to plenty of jazz. The jazz highlight is entitled "At The Pershing", where Masefield, the group's founder, tips his hat to the classic record "Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing, But Not For Me". Here, the band hints at the popular hit "Poinciana" from the above mentioned album, and showcases the mastery of Gil Goldstein’s piano playing. Track # 5, entitled "Oh Yeah", is a big hit requested often by fans at live shows and is possibly the group’s most radio playable song recorded yet, fitting into just about every imaginative DJ's format.
The "Jungle Tango" lineup includes Jamie Masefield on acoustic mandolin and mandola, along with the burning New York City rhythm section of Danton Boller (upright bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). Guest musicians on the album include Gil Goldstein from Pat Metheny fame on piano and accordion, and Chris Lovejoy of the Charlie Hunter group on percussion, making for the fullest sounding JMP album to date. Engineered by John Siket (Rage Against the Machine, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, etc.) the album represents the quality and enthusiasm of JMP’s famous live shows, while at the same time showing off the creativeness of this ensemble in the studio. "Before recording this material, we had many conversations about how much indistinguishable and uninventive music was on the scene these days. 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," said Jamie Masefield. "This CD is not about the mandolin or jazz. It’s about our unique approach to improvising that has developed through countless performances across the country."