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Manring is a master of innovation and way crazy funk fun on the bass. He slaps his Zon bass silly, samples, loops, E-Bows, processes and ultra-sustains his songs into a universe all his own. This is one of the best solo efforts Manring has put on the table to date. I have owned or sampled most of his offerings but on The Book of Flame ALL the stops are pulled out and a real beast is unleashed. Some folks labeled Manring as "disturbed" after Thönk but now we find he is wonderfully beyond help. His live, unedited, no overdub pieces are still a standard setting delight to experience as well as his warped-n-manipulated creations.
"Theseus in the Rains" is a funkified, burpin' bass joy with that telltale Manring hornsound lead. He shifts from a tar pit stomp lethargy to a toe-tappin' alley cat strut in a heartbeat. Truly fun. "Your Ad" is like part II of "Theseus . . ." and adds offending alien invader sound effects. Yeah, yet another a sample-crazy framework for Manring to go wild in. Yo, dis be da phat cool thang happnin y'all. I am tempted to boogie down. "The Adamski Photographs" is crying out to be part III after "Your Ad" with straight up piano added in for the finale with Manring doing guitarish leads that flow right into a Stanley Clarke groove. "Dromedary" is high octane enuff in spots to peel paint or melt the annuli off your woofers. Watch out.
Oh there is much more variety within but I leave the joy of discovery to you now. Live studio piece "No Wontons for Elvis" has a Michael Hedges Live on the Double Planet feel to it and as if Hedges were playing through Manring. (Dear God, We miss ya Hedges.) And to say goodbye to his friend, Manring calms down all the pandemonium on "The Book of Living and Dying" (for Michael Hedges, 1953-1997) and outros into memories and silence. Highly recommended!
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.