The Jazz Mandolin Project
Judging a band by its name is easy to do. Rest assured, monikers such as As I Lay Dying and Bleed the Dream don’t point to groups one can safely take home to mom. The Jazz Mandolin Project, on the other hand, is mother-approved, with (surprise!) jazz played on a mandolin. Jamie Masefield formed the JMP as a solo, one-night-a-month coffeehouse endeavor in 1993 to satisfy his craving for unorthodox instrumentation. Other musicians soon joined and helped flesh out his earthy compositions, which, over the next decade, have grown in ambition to embrace influences ranging from folk to classic rock, avant-garde to improv, Latin grooves to the blues. But as with any jazz combo worth its salt, the JMP is prolific by nature: The group will release its sixth album, The Deep Forbidden Lake, in March and plans to reissue its entire back catalog later this year.