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

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


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "The Magnificent Thad Jones" CD/LP/Track Review The Magnificent Thad Jones
by Greg Simmons
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Lookin' East" CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Jambú" CD/LP/Track Review Jambú
by Joe Gatto
Published: February 13, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.