All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Terrence McManus / Mark Helias / Gerry Hemingway: Transcendental Numbers

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist Terrence McManus helms a stellar trio on Transcendental Numbers, through six collective concoctions recorded in New York City's The Stone, straddling and blurring the line between textural improvisation and the more traditional sound of guitar and rhythm section. Brooklyn-born McManus is carving a niche for himself on the scene. Having worked with drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey, and performed with fellow guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist John Zorn, McManus is currently a member of drummer Gerry Hemingway's quintet, and finds his boss returning the favor here.

With an association dating back more than 33 years, the synergy of Hemingway and bassist Mark Helias is a wonder to behold. The pair first came together in the orbit of reed man Anthony Braxton, but they have been featured in each others bands many times since, most notably the cooperative BassDrumBone, along with trombonist Ray Anderson. Alongside their vast experience they also wield an armory of extended techniques which they delve into with gusto, making this a set which would also have been fascinating to witness live.

The breadth of unconventional sounds for guitar trio is reminiscent of guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil with Totem> on Solar Forge (ESP, 2008), though the overall ethos is not one of such complete deconstruction. Even though there are passages when there is no hint of tune, melody or meter, there is still a sense of form and trajectory, whether it is the steadily increasing crescendo of "When We First Left The Oceans" or the bell-shaped curve of "The Radio Astronomers." While the threesome flaunts the intensity of a power trio the density is reduced, so there is lots of air in many of the pieces which allows full appreciation of the constituent parts.

At times the bass and drums slip into their regular roles as on "Upperside" where McManus builds a statement of incisive, insistent phrases and broad slashes over a conversational mid-tempo. Likewise on "Junction" mournful horn-like phrasing from the guitar with blues intimations sparks a loose choppy groove from Helias and Hemingway and an impromptu riff from McManus. "Products of Primes" deals in flinty improv with the bassist's sweeping arco prominent, pitched against white noise guitar and thudding percussion, before evolving into a propulsive churn.

Transcendental Numbers shows where the guitar trio might go without totally severing the links to the instrument's vernacular.

Track Listing: Written in the Cracking of the Ice; Upperside; Junction; Products of Primes; The Radio Astronomers; When We First Left The Oceans.

Personnel: Terrence McManus: guitar; Mark Helias: bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums.

Title: Transcendental Numbers | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "From Outer Space" CD/LP/Track Review From Outer Space
by Thad Aerts
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Tall Tales And Alibis" CD/LP/Track Review Tall Tales And Alibis
by Doug Collette
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Tribute to Bobby" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Bobby
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Alleviation" CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "My Tongue Crumbles After" CD/LP/Track Review My Tongue Crumbles After
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017