5

Sarah Manning: Harmonious Creatures

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Sarah Manning: Harmonious Creatures
In order to create the music for Harmonious Creatures, saxophonist Sarah Manning had to put the hustle and bustle behind her. She picked herself up and took to the woods, composing and communing with nature at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire where she was living out her time as a MacDowell fellow in October of 2012. The time she spent at that artist's refuge gave her a chance to reflect, bridge worlds, and blur lines in her compositions. The serenity of the woods and the constant motion of modern day life now come together as one in her work.

Harmonious Creatures presents a more emotionally balanced voice than the one heard on the critically acclaimed Dandelion Clock (Posi-Tone, 2010), but the already-established tart-toned and acerbic nature of Manning's horn still shines through here; it's just seen in a different light now. On Dandelion Clock her horn stood out in sharp relief against the piano trio that worked with her, but here her horn is fully integrated with the other aural elements at play. Violist Eyvind Kang, perhaps best known for his work with guitarist Bill Frisell, joins Manning in the front line and operates in a similar sonic space; never have a viola and alto saxophone sounded so in tune with one another. The other X factor here is guitarist Jonathan Goldberger. His hallucinatory twangs and strums add volumes to the musical atmosphere; when all three parties converge, collide or cross paths, the resultant music is heady and spellbinding.

Manning's work can be alluring, focused, and free spirited all at once ("Three Chords For Jessica"). Her never-derivative saxophone blowing can be barbed ("Floating Bridge") or beautifully direct ("I Dream A Highway"), and her boundless creativity often surfaces in the most surprising of places (Neil Young's "On The Beach"). Her simpatico band mates mirror her mood swings and follow her through the highs and lows here. Sonic thickets abound, but so do clearings in the pasture.

Sarah Manning proves to be a harmonious creature herself, capable of balancing order and chaos, shadows and light, and the simple and complex without issue. In an age when many a critic has bemoaned the homogenization of saxophonists on the scene, Sarah Manning is proof that personality can still triumph over standardization; Manning stands apart from the sea of sound-alikes.

Track Listing

Copland On Cornelia Street; Tune Of Cats; Floating Bridge; I Dream A Highway; Grey Dawn, Red Fox; Radish Spirit; Three Chords For Jessica; Don't Answer To The Question; On The Beach; What The Blues Left Behind.

Personnel

Sarah Manning: alto saxophone; Eyvind Kang: viola; Jonathan Goldberger: guitar; Rene Hart: bass; Jerome Jennings: drums.

Album information

Title: Harmonious Creatures | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Jazz Mix 12
Kris T Reeder
Horizons Quartet
Horizons Quartet
3,5,8
Gui Duvignau
On Fire
Bévort 3
Lockdown
Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra
Inhabitable Imagination
Adrián Moncada
Where the Streets Lead
Slowly Rolling Camera
Where the Streets Lead
Slowly Rolling Camera

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

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