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 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 sax; Art Hirahara: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Kyle Struve: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Dawg Yawp" CD/LP/Track Review Dawg Yawp
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknown
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Sings the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Sings the Blues
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "The Expensive Train Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Expensive Train Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!