194

Sarah Manning: Dandelion Clock

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Sarah Manning: Dandelion Clock
The cover of Dandelion Clock, Sarah Manning's third album as leader, shows the saxophonist in soft focus, lying on a bed of fallen autumn leaves and lightly cradling her alto. It's standard smooth jazz cover art—but appearances can be deceptive, for Manning is one of the hardest-blowing and intense of musicians while her talents as a composer result in some fine original tunes.

Manning's distinctively hard-edged, even aggressive, tone dominates this album from the opening bars of Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks." Pianist Art Hirahara's short and lyrical introduction soon gives way to Manning's alto and although she gives her fellow players plenty of opportunity to display their own talents this forceful first statement makes it clear who's in charge.

Seven of Manning's own compositions follow "The Peacocks." The first of these, "Marble," is a light and swinging tune with Manning displaying a slightly softer approach while Linda May Han Oh's bass and Kyle Struve's drums carry the tune's rhythmic drive. "Through the Keyhole" is freer and more meditative, as is "The Owls (Are on the March)" with its shifting rhythms and patterns. The album closes with Michel Legrand's "The Windmills of Your Mind"—the opening duet between Manning's sax and Oh's emphatic bass is fascinating, but once the band start to play the overly-familiar melody this initial impact is lost.

Scattered across the album are three memorable tunes with a real cinematic quality, evoking the moods and atmospheres of 40s and 50s film noir soundtracks. The gorgeously rich "Habersham Street" provides the perfect musical backdrop for images of a rain-soaked and reflective Sam Spade, "Phoenix Song" soundtracks the fast-moving nightlife of a city's streets while "Crossing, Waiting"—with its insistent single-note bass intro from Oh—builds up a menacing tension. If anyone is about to film another James Ellroy novel, this is the band to call.

"Dandelion Clock" is an inventive and genuinely atmospheric album from a young leader with a distinctive take on the playing and writing of contemporary jazz music. The band is tight and talented and Manning's playing and writing is confident, mature and exciting. Hopefully there is much more to come.

Track Listing

The Peacocks; Marble; Habersham Street; I Tell Time By the Dandelion Clock; Crossing, Waiting; The Owls (Are on the March); Through the Keyhole; Phoenix Song; The Windmills of Your Mind.

Personnel

Sarah Manning: alto saxophone; Art Hirahara: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Kyle Struve: drums.

Album information

Title: Dandelion Clock | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read The Sudden Bird of Waiting
The Sudden Bird of Waiting
Patrick Brennan/Maria do Mar/Ernesto Rodrigues/Miguel Mira/Hernâni Faustino/Abdul Moimême
Read Myasmo
Myasmo
Mia Zabelka
Read Originations
Originations
Ryan Cohan
Read Dualisms
Dualisms
Michael Malis
Read Awareness
Awareness
Joe Sturges
Read Move On!
Move On!
Purdie / Fabian / Oswanski
Read Newton
Newton
Tony Bevan / Ashley Wales

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place 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 effort that will help musicians 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 bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

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