The world is a fucked-up place. Hardly a day goes by without another cataclysm. We've already got warming, war, famine, plague and pestilence (well, maybe not in Vermont), and the list keeps getting longer. At least God saw fit to smite Jerry Falwell. Thanks, big guy.
In a world of woe, it's only natural to seek solace whenever possible. Some folks use drugs, some play golf. We all have a vehicle to get to our "happy place," but we might need a soundtrack on the way there. That's where MaMaVig might come in handy.
The trio's self-titled debut is best absorbed through osmosis. Just press play and go back to whatever it was you were doing. You won't be able to pinpoint when it happens, but at some point over the following 53 minutes, your mind will clear and your mood will improve. I promise.
At first, you probably won't notice guitarist Frank Vignola's stunning work on "Bill's the King." Gary Mazzaroppi's bass solo on "Diminushing Blackness" likely won't blow you away, though it should. And I doubt you'll comprehend that Jamie Masefield's mandolin is practically singing to you throughout the album. So you might not realize that you're listening to some of the finest acoustic-jazz jams ever put to CD. But eventually you will.
It's not just that the performances here are technically immaculate, which they are, but rather that MaMaVig approach the material with unparalleled taste and restraint - something sorely lacking in many acoustic-jazz and newgrass releases. Musicians of this caliber could be forgiven the occasional instrumental indulgence, but the noodling infractions on this record occur so infrequently that forgiveness isn't necessary. Even when the band veers toward soft-jazz cheese - as they nearly do on a cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" - they never fully submit.
Like I said, everyone has his or her happy place. On Sunday, June 3, mine will probably be Burlington City Hall Auditorium, where MaMaVig and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey will perform as part of Burlington's Discover Jazz Fest.