251

Sarah Manning: Dandelion Clock

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Sarah Manning: Dandelion Clock Abstraction and accessibility isn't an easy match, but alto saxophonist Sarah Manning weds the two with fine results on Dandelion Clock. Manning's desire to create "a working, stable group that through rehearsals and philosophy lives and breathes on stage as a musical unit," is largely achieved with this quartet, featuring bassist Linda Oh, pianist Art Hirahara and drummer Kyle Struve.

These players aren't content to just play time or deliver, bland cliché-ridden music. While Manning bookends the album with two classics—starting with Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" and ending with Michel Legrand's "The Windmills Of Your Mind"—her conception of these pieces marks her as a restless musical explorer and creative small group arranger. Her delivery of the melody on "The Peacocks" introduces a sound that, while controlled, has a slightly tart and edgy sound to it. Some saxophone phrases end with fluttery sendoffs and Hirahara pushes a bit, but then holds back, during a compelling piano solo. All the while, the rhythm section creates a loose, rumbling musical underbelly. "The Windmills Of Your Mind" takes shape with Manning and Oh beginning the piece. The music seems to be reverse-engineered and the pieces are put together and stabilized by Hirahara and Struve. Manning's take on this song contains more thrust than most, bringing something new to both of these well-worn pieces.

The remaining seven songs—Manning's compositions all—are no less original. When "Habersham Street" begins, it sounds like it could have been a long lost relative of Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count," but this doesn't last too long. The band picks up steam when Hirahara solos, and a saxophone cadenza closes out the song. The ticking of the clock on "I Tell Time By The Dandelion Clock" is represented by Struve's steady clicking and some repetitive, ominous bass and piano motifs that come and go.

Oh's steady rhythm introduces "Crossing, Waiting," as Manning delivers a melody filled with mystery and paranoia, leading to Oh taking control with an exhilarating solo. Manning returns with a slightly more angular and rough sound, while Struve takes over for an unaccompanied solo. Struve and Oh create a doom-laden cadence on "The Owls (Are On The March)" features a unique rhythmic structure that allows the music to briefly morph into swing and then a Latin-esque groove, with Hirahara delivering his wildest and most unruly playing on the album. The highlight on "Phoenix Song" is the interplay and exchanges between Manning and Struve. Manning solos, with only drums beneath her, and then removes herself, allowing Struve to wreak some havoc.

Manning's writing and playing, along with the singular, organic nature of this quartet, makes Dandelion Clock a winning listen from beginning to end.


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.

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


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley" CD/LP/Track Review Plays The Music Of Alvin P. Buckley
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27" CD/LP/Track Review Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Ears Are Filled With Wonder" CD/LP/Track Review Ears Are Filled With Wonder
by John Sharpe
Published: August 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!