The Simon Mayor Quintet,
(Acoustics, 2008)

If you like your music light, lively and full of fun, look out for this CD. If classics, popular music and maybe a few lesser-known and oddly interpreted well-known songs are your interests, then you should also seek it out.

As the title intimates, a certain stringed instrument is the primal force here, but it is not alone. On 14 lovely tracks the mandolin is joined variously by guitar, bass, violin and vocals.

From "Slavonic Dance No. 8" through "Plum Blossoms in the Snow" to "Cheek to Cheek," this group of expert musicians will keep you amused, amazed and entertained.

"Russia Rag" will bring older listeners back in time to the great Winifred Atwell while lovers of American folk songs can experience a delightful interpretation of "He's Gone Away." Show tunes like "Cheek to Cheek" seems very susceptible to the treatment on offer here, and the same is true of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square."

The treatment of all the great tunes here is light without being frivolous. These are top-class musicians playing music as if they are having fun.

That sense of fun is contagious and the listener will be swept along with the sentiments.

Note: Simon Mayor and his associates released an album in 2007, Dance of the Comedians, using Mandolinquents as the band's name. They apparently preferred the more staid Simon Mayor Quartet, however, and retained "Mandolinquents" as this album's title.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

18 April 2009

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