Preda's Mission

Bruce Von Stiers

A cimbalom is a special type of chordophone musical instrument. It is sometimes known as a concert hammered dulcimer. A cimbalom is mostly ornate in design and is commonly played in central and eastern European countries. Although the instrument is used in street concerts and the like, the cimbalom isn't usually the centerpiece of jazz recording. One artist has decided to do something about that. He has recorded an album with the cimbalom as the main focus.

The artist I am referring to is Marius Preda. From his studies at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague to playing with and contributing to recordings by top tier artists, Marius has had a vivid musical journey. Earlier this year Marius released Mission Cimbalom, his album dedicated to his instrument, the cimbalom.

Marius has played with trumpeter Arturo Sandoval many times over the years. So it made sense to invite Arturo to play on this album. Mike Stern played guitar on the album. Besides being a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Mike has recorded solo jazz albums and played and recorded with some of jazz's top artists. Tom Kennedy, Teymur Phell and Robin Koerts share duties on bass. Tom has recorded with the likes of Dave Weckl and others along with his own music. Teymur has his own trio and also tours with Randy Becker and Mike Stern. Robin has a pretty good following on YouTube for his bass playing. Dennis Chambers is listed as the main drummer for the album with Taco Gorter and Sanah Kadoura also helping out. Taco has recorded with Tim Treffers and tours with people like Alex van Voorst. A much in demand drummer, Sanah has been working towards releasing her debut album. Dennis has toured with Santana and recorded with toured with Steely Dan.

On the album Marius plays the cimbalom, vibraphone, violin accordion, piano and pan pipes. He also does the vocals on the album. The album has thirteen songs and a play time of just over an hour. Marius produced the album with Arturo Sandoval. The album has mostly original compositions. It was recorded by Cristi Dobrica and Dustin Higgins.

Starting out the album is the title track, Mission Cimbalom. It is a cool, moderately paced smooth jazz tinted piece. It kind of reminded me something The Rippingtons might have done.

The second song features Arturo Sandoval. It is titled Adriana. It is soft and gentle to begin with, showcasing Sandoval's tremendous trumpet playing. About half way through the song, things start to move faster, getting into a subtle groove.

Marius does a nice arrangement of the Oscar Peterson song, Place St. Henri. Although this was composed by Peterson as a piano structured piece, using the cimbalom in this rendition works well.

Nat King Cole had a hit with the Eden Ahbez song, Nature Boy. While he doesn't sound like Cole, Marius' vocals on his rendition of the song is pretty solid.

Then Marius gives the listener an interesting arrangement of the song Le Grand ave une Chasure Noire. This Vladimir Cosma song was from the French film of the same name that was later remade in English as the Man With the Red Shoe. This rendition has more of a be-bop jazz lilt to it than the original orchestral theme.

A light groove can be found in Tango For The Giants, an original composition by Marius. There is some cool accordion in the song.

I've always liked the Bill Evan's song, Waltz For Debby. Marius does a nice job with his rendition of the song. There is some very nice violin music in the song.

Groove and samba mix well in St. Arturo, another original composition by Marius. It features the talents, of the songs, namesake, Arturo Sandoval.

Buongiorno Petrucciani is an interesting piece with a lot of bass.

There is a very nice arrangement of the Sandoval song Surena. It features the cimbalom very well.

There are a lot of parts and pieces to Oscar's World, a song that Marius composed with Tom Kennedy and Dennis Chambers. Not only is there a lot of work with the cimbalom, there is a lot of bass and drums.

Another song that was composed by those three is B.A.T.C. It is a fairly fast paced song with decent guitar and drums.

The last song on the album is 198 Strings vs Stern & Preda. It is an intriguing mix of cimbalom, guitar and bass.

I hadn't really paid that much attention what a cimbalom provides to various types of music. Having it be the main instrument in jazz music is intriguing. With this album, Marius Preda definitely brings the cimbalom front and center. I really enjoyed both the original compositions and the arrangements that Marius brought forth in this album.

Mission Cimbalom is available on iTunes, Spotify and other music outlets.

To find out more about Marius Preda and Mission Cimbalom, visit

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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers