Manner Effect is not merely an energetic group consisting of a vocalist backed by a four- piece band, but a quintet with two frontline instruments and a rhythm section. This is primarily due to Sarah Elizabeth Charles
's utilization of her amazing vocal cords as a wind instrument, and in her delivery of songs in the tradition of such adventurous performers as Flora Purim
and Ursula Duduziak.
This is clearly demonstrated on Abundance
, especially on the title track as Charles' voice soars over darkly hued rhythmic textures. Caleb Wheeler Curtis
' urgent and wailing saxophone mirrors and complements Charles' solo perfectly. Logan Evan Thomas, who also composed the tune, drives the melody with his classically influenced piano lines.
Other musical influences also appear throughout this debut. PJ Roberts
' surreal and brief "HopeIntro" features art-rock grooves and Charles' overdubbed ethereal vocalization, while the main part of the song introduces lyricist W.E.S.' poetic hymns. peppering Curtis' bluesy, gutbucket sax improvisation with a hip-hop feel.
Showcasing his lyricism on acoustic bass on Charles' hypnotic ballad "Longing For," Roberts steps into the spotlight and interacts with the others, creating intricate, romantically influenced harmonies.
Percussionist Joshua Davis
is Roberts' partner in laying down complex, sometimes angular, and always compelling grooves. Whether on the fusion-esque "Passing Time," the breezy "The Way it Was," or the funky "X Marks The Spot," Davis' cymbals, thumps and strikes propel the cadence forward and serve as the foundation on which the songs are built.
This effervescent set of varying styles, including covers by Michael Jackson
and Antonio Carlos Jobim
, is still firmly rooted in jazz, albeit on the light side of the spectrum. Its frothy and cool sound provides a highly enjoyable experience that may not have much intellectual heft but it does maintain interest, and the handsomely designed disc, with its companion DVD, is a treat for the eyes and ears.
Personnel: Sarah Elizabeth Charles: voice; Caleb Curtis: saxophones; flute; Logan Thomas: piano, Fender
Rhodes; PJ Roberts: basses, guitars; Josh Davis: drums, percussion.