The mandolin is a plucked stringed instrument from the 18th century belonging to the
lute family that earned its place in the Baroque and Classical music of composers such
as; Antonio Vivaldi, Domenico, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Hummel and Paganini. Around
1800 the Mandolin was predominant in Vienna and therefore boasts a great tradition in
classical music. While it was never adopted as a main instrument for Jazz, the mandolin
did find its way into American music in such forms as Bluegrass and Country, played by
virtuosos such as Bill Munroe and David Grisman.
Mike Marshall is one of these Modern virtuosos (Gator Strut) and recently Chris Thile the
man called the Bluegrass Paganini praised for his work with American jazz pianist Brad
Christian Gruber-Ruesz is a guitarist based in Vienna who proved his great ability
already playing the Bouzouki and Gypsy Guitar on his first record “Sunny-Live at Aera”.
On his newest record he plays strictly Mandolin and lets his notes run free in the Jazz
context. Like on “Sunny” (1999) Christian Gruber-Ruesz plays with the outstanding
pianist Roland Guggenbichler and bassist Karl Sayer who leave their mark on this
attractive album, with a wonderful combination of the hammered and plucked strings.
Also taking part is the versed and often funky drummer Christian Grobauer, and as
guitar duo partner Loren Couch. Together they offer jazz with the pleasant joy of
playing and without the exaggerations of technical ability in the compositions of: Andy
Laverne, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Wayne Shorter, Paquito D’Rivera and Karl Sayer
Christian Gruber-Ruesz places the mandolin sound not as the main event but rather the
interaction between the musicians to create a bright and pleasing band sound that can
work on the listener for hours. The sound the musicians create is so natural one can
hardly believe the mandolin is an unusual instrument for Jazz. Christian Gruber-Ruesz
furthers the music of the mandolin with Latin American, Asian, jazzy, funky, swinging
influences. He brings the mandolin into new territory.