240

Jacam Manricks: Labyrinth

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Jacam Manricks: Labyrinth It is quite rare to find an up-and-coming composer/musician such as Australian-born, New York-based reedman Jacam Manricks. A PhD-level composer at the Manhattan School of Music, who has already developed strong personal compositional skills on his sophomore release as a leader, his unique and elaborate compositions reveal a deep knowledge of the jazz bop legacy and modern 20th century music. With an exceptional talent for arranging, his compositions are intelligent and sometimes challenging, defying their exquisite clarity and emotional accessibility.

His quintet feature forward-thinking comrades— Ben Monder on guitars, Jacob Sacks on piano, Thomas Morgan on acoustic bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, with a chamber orchestra added on two tracks. Manricks chose the album title to symbolize the distinct nature of his compositions: "the long and sinuous curve of the melody, in addition to the chosen harmonies, creates a mystical atmosphere, as if one were journeying through a labyrinth," he writes in the liner notes.

The opening "Portal" plays with a melody from Claude Debussy's "Syrinx for Flute," which Manricks—and later Monder—plays beautifully, while Sacks and Sorey expand its melodic content with complex, tough and gentle rhythms. "Micro-Gravity"'s harmonies references Arnold Schoenberg's "Third Piece," from his "Five Pieces for Orchestra," and feature Manricks' commanding alto sax work floating over an engaging pulse. Manricks creates an impression of labyrinth on the title-composition while confronting the melodic contour of the composition with a consistent rhythm of the bass and piano parts. "Move" suggests subtle dissonances within the chosen harmonies, and an organic sound due to the timbres of Monder's acoustic guitar and Manricks' soprano sax, creating a mourning feeling.

"Cloisters" is another sensitive exploration of angular and rhythmic complex melodies, evoking Manricks' awe upon visiting the ruins of Fort Tyron Park in Upper Manhattan. The peaceful yet melancholic "Aeronautics" features Manricks warm alto sound through carefully built harmonic structures and Monder's sensitive exploration of the harmonic themes. "March and Combat" is a fascinating bolero-like slow waltz that respectfully references both Gil Evans' arrangements to Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960) and Maurice Ravel's "Bolero." Manricks navigates the quintet and chamber orchestra through complex rhythms while leaving enough room for Monder, Sacks and himself to expand on the sophisticated melody of this composition. He concludes this exceptional release with the sparse "Rothko," dedicated to multiform works of the late idiosyncratic Mark Rothko. This slow and subtle composition encourages a search deeper into the music.

Manricks is a remarkable composer, and this release is a superb testimony to his capabilities.


Track Listing: Portal; Micro-Gravity; Labyrinth; Move; Cloisters; Aeronautics; March & Combat; Rothko.

Personnel: Ben Monder: electric and acoustic guitars; Jacob Sacks: piano; Thomas Morgan: acoustic bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums; Jacam Manricks: alto & soprano saxophones, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Chamber Orchestra (2 & 7): violins: Laura Arpiainen, Ann Marie Bernmont, Kiku enomoto, Garry Ianco, Brooke Guiggins; viola: Marla Hansen; Cello: Marla Jeffers; french horn: Amie Margoles.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Manricks Music Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "This is Life" CD/LP/Track Review This is Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Prog Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Prog Noir
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 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!