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JMancera: Mancera #5

Dan Bilawsky By

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Contemporary jazz can't compare to its straight-ahead and left-of-center relatives in terms of complexity, weight, and scope, but that doesn't mean it has absolutely nothing to give. The masses who are taken with this form of music are well aware that it offers an escape, giving off thoughts of sunny days, sandy beaches, and starry nights. It's certainly not for everyone, but the relatively simple hooks, buoyant grooves, and generally pleasant atmospheres that are endemic to the universe of smooth(er) jazz have their own sweet charms. That comes through clearly on Mancera #5.

Saxophonist Jaime Mancera—a.k.a JMancera—delivers thirteen originals here, touching on upbeat moods and low-key loveliness. Rock grooves, Latin inflections, dance floor suggestions, contemplative melodies, and electric allure are all part of the package. Mancera's saxophone sashays atop rock solid foundations provided by drummer Nate Wood and bassist Jeff Berlin, two powerhouse musicians who tone things down to keep everything simple, and his melodies are ably supported and propped up by the architectural work of guitarist Nick Moroch and keyboardist Sean Wayland. Memo Acevedo fills out the roster, adding percussive seasoning and filigree to these easy-to-digest numbers.

As with most smooth jazz, uncomplicated lyricism and good vibes are the main selling points. Mancera's brand of music is joyful and expressive contemporary jazz that serves to lighten the mood and lift spirits. There's nothing to bowl you over in this work, but that's quite alright. Mancera gets the job done, putting his own voice out there while also fitting neatly within a certain musical niche.

Track Listing: Mancera #5; Hola Sunshine; You Are Always There; Ready To Fight; Rico Swing; State Of Love; Sunset Silhouettes; Cumbanchando; Mediterranean Flavor; Reflections; Today I Was Born; Come To Me; Swinging Skirt.

Personnel: JMancera: saxophones; Jeff Berlin: bass guitar; Sean Wayland: keyboards; Nick Moroch: guitars; Nate Wood: drums; Memo Acevedo: percussion.

Title: Mancera #5 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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