5

Jeremy Manasia: Pixel Queen

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Jeremy Manasia: Pixel Queen 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.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Blujazz Productions | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Fourmation" CD/LP/Track Review Fourmation
by John Ephland
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "Emily’s D+Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Emily’s D+Evolution
by Mark F. Turner
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "The LA EP" CD/LP/Track Review The LA EP
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!