No Condiments, PLEASE By Jeff Mastroberti
Nancy Neon Reviews No Condiments, PLEASE!
review by Nancy Neon
Mastroberti published this book of poetry in 2012. In 2015,he issued an accompanying CD with 12 selections from the book, The book itself has over 40 poems. Mastroberti even included the first poem he wrote which was in response to a second grade assignment when the class was given the title- "if i was a color, I would be..." Mastroberti wrote of simple elegance seemingly beyond the ability of even someone many years older: "If I were a color, I would be/Blue as the sky above/Blue as the sea below/Blue as the days go by/Blue till the sweet hello...' I love this! It is so perfect in its graceful simplicity. This certainly did bode well for his writing future,
In 2000, Mastrob erti lived his dream of reciting his poetry to musical accompaniment when the late Jack Stock wrote music to his poem "Plantain". Stock recited and recorded it, Mastroberti asked Stock to include it on his CD, but Stock told him that it was his poem and he should perform it! Stock set him up with an engineer and produced the track. About a year later, Mastroberti met up with some musicians in New Brunswick, NJ and together they completed his first CD in 2005, THIS IS JEFFLAND. As an attachment to this collection, Mastroberti has included the previously unreleased tracks that he recorded live and in small studios in PA between 2005-2010 approximately.,
Mastroberti describes his poetry as "environmentally or politically inspired poems and poems that are spiritual in nature." Some of his poems have a whimsical quality and can be comedic and very appealing to and appropriate for a young audience like these lines in "Plantain": "I wil be as free as a wild field mouse:As I stuff my bills in the kangaroo's pouch." " I Haven't Written Anything Lately" contrasts the life of art vs. the life of action ie living life as opposed to writing about it. Mastroberti writes about saving up his life experiences to use as artistic inspiration:"It's all stored up, waiting for the next wave/Waiting to explode into a million pieces of gold"-a line so perfect that Mastroberti uses it again in "The Struggle" on page 15. The former poem has a twist at the end which transforms the poem into something more spiritual and intense.
In "Time", Mastroberti asks the questions that we all yearn to have answered- "Time-what do you have in store for me?/Time-what do you plan to do with me?/Time-where will I go? What will I do?" In "Onion Waits", Mastroberti employs some selfdeprecating humor-"I'm on a date with a hot chick. What a fantasy, There's a better chance you'll find me naked in a tree,"
in "Dan Electro", Mastroberti mixes musical imagery with sexual imagery with an entertaining result: "I want to wrap my pull down resistor around your mixer/taste your Old English malt liquor/my extra virgin, high frequency switchin' , solid 48 ounce baby."
"Rip The Flesh" shows the more violent, visceral side of Mastroberti. The poem also speaks about his artistic renaissance;"Rip the flesh off my body/And see the spirit within / Creative,Expressive,Pure, and Loving/Dying to live again." "No Prophet, No Crime" asks the question if they will ever allow the next Bob Dylan to emerge(but then again who needs a new Dylan when we have the original real deal Dylan?!) Mastroberti brings up a lot of crucial issues like separation of church and state as well government by the people , for the people and asks the ominous question of what would happen if Jesus came back today.
"Cell Phone World" is a poem most people can relate to and it alliows them to laugh at their own foibles-"In a cell phone world, i wear ear buds, wherever I go/ In a cell phone world, i do anything, but go with the flow/In a cell phone world, i make a butt call once a week/In a cell phone world, I've texted so long, I don't know how to speak." "Why" is one of Mastroberti's better comedic poems. "I Recall" is a heavy melancholic piece. Mastroberti really runs a wide gamut between comedic and dark depression. "That 911 Day" is especially painful for me because like the line in the Laura Nyro song, NYC is like a religion to me. I take that attack so personally and though it happened 14 years ago, I still cannot process or accept the magnitude of the tragic loss in the city i adore as if it were a best friend and lover.
Mastroberti debut poetry volume is an impressive accomplishment, delivering a compelling collection of over forty poems and running the gamut of important ideas, both spiritual and political as well touching on a vast range of emotions from humor to passion to violence and depression. Bravo Mastroberti.
Editor's note: Jeffland 12(CD)has 12 selections from this book set to musical accompaniment. Look for my review here in the near future,
Jeff Mastroberti with Colin Pound
Jeff Mastroberti with Colin Poundhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkcn8b875S0
Hear a sample of Jeffland on Demo That Got The Deal Vol. 1
Joe Viglione's original The Demo That Got The Deal(tm) radio show website
Visual Radio featuring Jeff Mastroberti
Watch Jeff Mastroberti on Joe Viglione's Visual Radio
Taped Friday, May 20, 2011 in Winchester, Massachusetts
Joe Viglione, host of Visual Radio
show with Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators and Jeff Mastroberti
May 20, 2011
BUZZY IN NEW YORK
JEFF MASTROBERTI WITH GREENWICH VILLAGE LEGEND BUZZY LINHART
Check out our Melodicverse.com
Jeff will be posting more information here shortly!
JEFF MASTROBERTI performing at
DYLAN'S BAR at Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania.
Wednesday Night May 24, 2006 7:30 PM
Dylan's 500 Chesterbrook Blvd, Wayne, PA 19080
Jeff reading his poetry with accompaniment of various guitarists.
Rob Melso and more!
from the Philadelphia Enquirer
The ever-changing restaurant space in Wayne's Chesterbrook development - which has seen Tupelo, Wild Tuna, Ferretti and Marcello come and go in the last six years alone - has a new tenant. And it has more casual, populist aspirations. It's Dylan's (500 Chesterbrook Blvd., 610-296-1103), a moderately priced American that's a step above a sports bar, with plasma TVs at the bar and in the dining room. Owners are Emlyn Webber, Jeff Webber and Ed Locher; chef is Pat Kenny, whose entrees are $13 to $19. "Dylan" happens to be Jeff Webber's dog, who barked persistently while partners were kicking around names.
Recent and upcoming performances
May 5th Berkeley Carteret Asbury Park NJ - Dan Electro, 12 9, Plantain
May 5th The Arch Point Pleasant NJ - Dan Electro, 12 9, Plantain
May 7th 2337 (coffeehouse in NYC East Villiage - 12 9, Plantain
May 10th Fennarios coffeehouse West Chester PA - Dirty Young Hippie, The Mint Medley, Why, Jeffland, Plantain, 1+1=3
May 11th Steel City Coffeehouse Pheonixville PA - Jeffland, Dan Electro, The Mint Medley, Why, I Recall
Thanks to Jill Morrison at Stonybrook University RAdio Stn for playing various tracks from This Land is Jeffland and for inviting me to be a guest on her show in the future. Once set, I will let you know specifics.
Thanks to the DJ's at WVPH Piscataway who have played cuts from the CD this year and for the music director for putting This land is Jeffland on rotation where I hear it has been for several months.
I also want to thank Morgan Huke at Tufts University in MA for playing a track or two on his show, which I believe is still on Saturday mornings and to Ed Wong from WRSU who has played My Love (the track I do with Stephanie Monticello) at least once that I know of during his terrific Saturday show in New Brunswick NJ which airs from 10am to 2PM.
I will be opening for guitar duo Paul and Zack, other wise known as Cat Weisel at Dylan's in Chesterbrook PA on May 24th. Guitarists Dave Dougherty and Ken plan to be there. If so, I will have 4 guitarists who will accompany me at different times as I recite my lyrical poetry.
Take care and thanks to Mike and Larry of Soul for letting me perform with their band in Point Pleasant and for Ken for inviting me to play with his 2 man band in Media on June 10th.
Take care and enjoy the remainder of Spring
JEFF TO PERFORM LIVE AT THE KIRKLAND in BOSTON/CAMBRIDGE
July 22, 2006
For a live CD
Jeff was at the IBS Conference this past March 10, 2006 at the NY Penn Hotel in NYC!
More info soon!