5

Jeremy Manasia: Pixel Queen

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Pixel Queen is the third record to document the musical relationship that pianist Jeremy Manasia has with bassist Barak Mori and drummer Charles Ruggiero. Manasia's debut leader date—Witchery (Cellar Live, 2007)—featured a different rhythm crew, but this bass-and-drums team came aboard for After Dark (Posi-Tone, 2009), a pleasing trio-with-guests outing, and stayed for Green Dream (Cellar Live, 2012), an all-originals trio date. On this release, Manasia's fourth overall and first on the Blujazz imprint, this trio tackles six of the pianist's originals and delivers one standard—a swinging, happy-go-lucky take on Leonard Bernstein's "Lucky To Be Me."

Manasia and company come across as centrists here, delivering material that's neither conservative nor bold. It doesn't appear that anybody in this group is looking to redefine the piano trio format or break new ground; these men simply enjoy playing music together, furthering their connection through that process.

Manasia sets the album afloat, delivering a classically-inspired piano introduction that gives way to a waltzing vehicle ("Postscript From An Argument"). The follow-up tune—"Another Ordinary Day"—proves to be one of the stand out tracks on the album. A reflective piano introduces this lyrical ballad, which is transformed, deftly and subtly, into a light-and-bluesy swinger; this transition is so artfully executed that the ears barely notice it taking place.

Ruggiero's straight eighth groove bookends "Pixel Queen," as if to serve as a reminder that it's powering the piece, and a sense of comfort and serenity are carried through the aforementioned "Lucky To Be Me." The penultimate track—"One Summer's Cradle"—proves to be another album highlight. This bright-eyed, Brazilian-inflected number gives Mori some space to shine, and it focuses in on the rhythmic weave of the group. "Night Demon" and the album-ending "Lily's Hamlet" aren't quite as memorable as the rest of the material, but the group comes across as focused and energetic on both. These traits, in fact, define much of this work.

Track Listing: Postscript From An Argument; Another Ordinary Day; Night Demon; Pixel Queen; Lucky To Be Me; One Summer's Cradle; Lily's Hamlet.

Personnel: Jeremy Manasia: piano; Barak Mori: bass; Charles Ruggiero: drums.

Title: Pixel Queen | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Blujazz Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "The Time Verses" CD/LP/Track Review The Time Verses
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Destinations" CD/LP/Track Review Destinations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Apocalypse" CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists" CD/LP/Track Review Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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