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The lost travel diaries of Sir Albus Manchild had been tucked away in an old trunk in Beston Barnett's grandmother's attic for many years, and their discovery led to this worthwhile project: an attempt to interpret these unfinished snippets logically.
According to the story, Sir Albus Manchild (1842-1914) was a composer who traveled to America to research the blues and other vernacular forms in the new land. This Manchild was an eccentric Victorian composer. He traveled the world and sought out music from distant lands. It's a fairy tale that contains many hopeful wishes.
With each selection that Barnett's quartet interprets here, the guitarist speaks at length about Manchild in an attempt to explain it all. His modern jazz quartet interpretation of Manchild's music (from notes in his lost diaries) explores world music in the same way that Manchild himself did a hundred years ago.
Acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, drums and a soprano saxophone give the music an exotic flavor that travels the world through its inherent connections. "Delola City includes an early blues texture, but most of the material comes from distant lands. Sinbad the Sailor might have experienced some of these sounds. The same would apply to travelers such as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. Too bad none of them carried a tape recorder or a video camera. We can only guess what they heard on their travels.
Today, we're fortunate in that we're able to take miniature recording devices with us everywhere we go. The music of Ghana, Guayaquil, Guiyang, Guangzhou, Guelmim or Goiania can be captured accurately without having to translate. Still, it's fun to interpret foreign musical forms in our own musical language. Benson Barnett's modern jazz retrospective provides one fascinating solution.