12

Mikael Mani: Bobby

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Mikael Mani: Bobby
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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Aufbruch
J. Peter Schwalm & Markus Reuter
Purvs
Liudas Mockūnas / Arvydas Kazlauskas
Chapter One
Marieke Koopman
Griots
Gerald Cleaver

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.