Mat Maneri - Pandelis Karayorgis: Disambiguation (2002)
This recently released outing might serve as a landmark for the new age of jazz! First off, we get to hear violinist Matt Maneri’s notorious microtonal excursions integrated into abstractly concocted Bop-style frameworks along with a few scant nods to Ornette Coleman. The co-leader of this date, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, is no stranger to the realm of progressive jazz-based improvisation. However, the real magic lies within the unique musical chemistries or personas that define the basis of this quintet.
Veteran modern jazz bassist Michael Formanek and the rapidly rising tenor sax terror Tony Malaby bring a variegated scope to the overall proceedings, evident from the onset of the opener, “Case in Point.” Here, Maneri once again counters the 12-tone equal temperament system, largely due to his partitioning, or slicing and splicing, of motifs atop oscillating polyrhythms from Formanek and drummer Randy Peterson. Nonetheless, the fun really starts when the soloists equalize their often-understated lyricism with odd-metered, Bop-ish unison choruses. Sure, they methodically dissect a plethora of mini-themes, but there’s a cunning revolution taking place... Listen to Malaby and Maneri’s soberly executed extended note choruses, followed by a barely detectable climactic buildup on "Matutinal." The fanfare doesn’t end there, as Malaby throws us for a loop via his mainstream-flavored jazz/blues soloing, while the quintet subsequently and quite astutely tempers the dynamics down to a near whisper.
On the title track "Disambiguation," the musicians pursue deviously chaotic, free jazz stylizations where Malaby and Karayorgis go on a mild rampage, amid an asymmetrical ebb and flow. Folks, there’s an abundance of ideas floating around, as this band seamlessly morphs two relatively disparate yet not totally dissimilar art forms into a gleaming personalized statement.
This writer tends to shy away from (or does his best to avoid) top ten lists, although it might be judicious to create one, if only to promote the achievements witnessed on this resplendently gratifying effort. (Feverishly recommended.)
Track Listing: 1. Case in Point 2. Three Plus Three 3. Matutinal 4. Disambiguation 5. Home
Personnel: Pandelis Karayorgis: piano - Mat Maneri: violin - Tony Malaby: tenor sax - Randy Peterson: drums