Manner Effect knits together the jazz aesthetics of The Bad Plus to Kneebody to pianist Robert Glasper and bassist Esperanza Spalding, while forging its own unique and progressive sound. With music, particularly jazz, so highly atomized, it is a hard market in which to distinguish oneself. This quintet's approach is one of total assimilation and immersion in its collective visions and influences, so much so that something completely new, yet naggingly familiar, is achieved. Abundance is the zero-sum result of this vision.
The standard repertoire offers both pros and cons to an inventive jazz artist. A con is that many standards have been ground into dust by multiple mediocre though well-intentioned performances. The mark of the great artist is to reinvent so completely a given standard, that it can be heard in a different way. This is what Manner Effect does with Jobim/Lees' "Corcovado." Bassist PJ Roberts establishes an odd nursery rhyme rhythm with vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles that unfolds into a smart and almost anti-bossa nova treatment of this bossa nova chestnut. This is not your parent's Antonio Carlos Jobim. The treatment is both funky and fresh, summoning all of those elements found in all good songwriting.