Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Mikael Mani: Bobby

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Icelandic guitarist Mikael Mani's debut release is a poised, rewarding set of original compositions inspired by events surrounding Bobby Fischer's capture of the world chess championship in 1972.

Held in Iceland, the politically charged bout took place against the backdrop of the cold war and garnered worldwide attention. Less well known is the subsequent close relationship between Iceland and Fischer, whose life became one of personal and political controversy, leading to his eventual residence in Iceland, which harbored him until his death. Mani's work is not directly focused on the politics of these events, but instead presents a meditation on the themes evoked by the narrative of Fischer's complicated life and struggles.

Knowledge of Fischer is not necessary to appreciate Mani's dexterous touch and compositions. Featuring fellow Icelanders, bassist Skuli Sverrisson and drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Bobby establishes a ruminative atmosphere throughout its ten pieces. Mani employs a studied technique and a predilection for subtle surprises that emerge like well-laid traps from within the pieces' extended lines. Whether constituting a sudden descent into dissonance, a brief eruption of distortion added to his otherwise open tone, or journey into abstract soundscapes, these moments never feel jarring despite their unexpectedness. Instead, they help provide depth and layering.

This quality stems from Mani's meticulous style, kindred to Jim Hall's in tone and inflection, while also encompassing the Django Reinhardt school of rhythmic progression, as well as traces of Lage Lund and other contemporaries who have chosen more spacious and minimalist approaches.

The band's effectiveness also flows in no small measure from Sverrisson's atmospheric bass. Notable as well is Eliassen's precise, unobtrusive percussion, especially his nimble brush work.

A solid debut, Bobby establishes Mani as a thoughtful, deft musician ready to add his voice to the roster of Scandinavians who continue to sculpt a distinctive jazz sound.

Track Listing: Board Games; Sol; Reykjavik 1972; First Impressions; Lend Me Your Finger and I’ll Take Your Whole Arm; Wishing You Were Wrong; Betrayal of an Insecure Soul; Bobby; Tie Your Hopes Down; Down in the Well.

Personnel: Mikael Mani: guitar; Skúli Sverrisson: bass; Magnús Trygvason Eliassen: drums , vibraphone.

Title: Bobby | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
  • Bobby by Franz A. Matzner
Read more articles


Self Produced


Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019