118

Al Maniscalco Quartet: One Blessed Day

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Al Maniscalco Quartet: One Blessed Day The first thing one notices about Al Maniscalco's tenor saxophone is its smooth, burnished sound. He has obviously worked hard on that, as he has on his explicitly laid-back delivery. The next thought that springs to mind is that Maniscalco is an accomplished improviser—on tenor or soprano—who always has a specific goal in mind and knows how to reach it while keeping the listener happily engaged. As one of his teachers was Bunky Green, that's readily understandable.

Maniscalco, of course, can't go it alone, and has surrounded himself with capable sidemen, of whom he speaks highly in the liner notes, and deservedly so. Drummer Eric Kennedy was there when Maniscalco formed the quartet more than ten years ago, bassist Jeff Reed came on board in '99, and pianist Roy Dunlap became, in Maniscalco's words, "the missing piece to the puzzle four years later. Together they form a tight-knit group whose purpose is to elicit as much warmth and beauty from the music as they possibly can. Mission accomplished.

Speaking of the music, it encompasses two originals ("Rainy Wednesday, "A Buttaful Tune ) by Maniscalco, Kennedy's "One Blessed Day," Dunlap's "Tell Me That You Love Me," mentor Bunky Green's "April Green, Jazz standards by Thelonious Monk ("'Round Midnight ) and John Coltrane ("Giant Steps ), the Simon and Garfunkel blockbuster "Bridge Over Troubled Water, Leslie Bricusse's "When I Look in Your Eyes, Johnny Farrow/Marty Symes' ballad "I Have But One Heart," the Burke/van Heusen standard "It Could Happen to You and the sunny Italian theme "Funiculi, Funicula.

Maniscalco gives each one a pleasant ride, reminding this listener on occasion of one of Philadelphia's undiscovered treasures, Larry McKenna. He plays soprano on "April Green and "Rainy Wednesday, tenor the rest of the way. Dunlap, Reed and Kennedy provide unwavering support, and Dunlap cooks up a number of tantalizing solos. Although Maniscalco isn't likely to become a household name, let there be no doubt that he can play, nor that his quartet is first-class. A splendid session, enhanced by well-modulated sound and liberal playing time.


Personnel: Al Maniscalco: tenor, soprano sax; Roy Dunlap: piano; Jeff Reed: bass; Eric Kennedy: drums.

Title: One Blessed Day | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jalkoda Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Heavy Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Weather
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Hearts & Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Hearts & Minds
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Clarinet (& Piano)" CD/LP/Track Review Clarinet (& Piano)
by John Eyles
Published: February 8, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.