Violinist Mat Maneri continues his assault on modern improvised jazz with this new Trio outing titled, Fifty-One Sorrows. Here Maneri enlists fellow New Englanders, drummer Randy Peterson and bassist Ed Schuller, who are both at the pinnacle of their respective crafts while making leaps and bounds within modern jazz circles these days. The Trio is in top form on Fifty-One Sorrows especially on compositions such as Ornette Coleman’s “Tone Dialing” which boasts a hybrid swing/free-jazz motif while Maneri reworks the melody utilizing his baritone violin here and throughout. Peterson and Schuller are afforded the opportunity to insinuate or steer the course a bit as they often bounce ideas off one another in tandem with Maneri’s jagged lines and microtonal passages. The title track, “Fifty-One Sorrows” commences like a slow dirge while Maneri explores half tones and craftily propagates briefly stated themes via subtle and dynamic phrasing as this piece progresses into an emotionally charged if not invigorating affair. On this composition the flow is often hypnotic and cyclic akin to ocean waves slamming against a sandy beach! The piece titled, “OCD” is meticulously conversational guided by Maneri’s angular attack as the musicians stop and start various sequences ultimately leading to multiple three way conversations while seldom if ever, losing the pulse or in some respects, - implied meter.
On all accounts, Fifty-One Sorrows is a rewarding listening experience as this thoroughly modern improvisational troupe for the nineties exhibit many complexities along with dashes of nuance and to some extent a little underlying trickery of a subliminal nature. Upon repeated listens you are liable to detect variances in movement that may have eluded you during the initial spins. A great effect, which could only be attributed to the resiliency and intelligence of three flourishing masters! Highly recommended! * * * * 1/2
Mat Maneri; Baritone Violin: Ed Schuller; Bass: Randy Peterson; Drums
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.