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Manricks, Jacam: Chamber Jazz

There's no doubt that the new album from saxophone playing flutist and clarinet man Jacam Manricks lives up to its name, Chamber Jazz. And yet you can't quite help but get the feel that the title is also a little ironic and intentionally so, what with the multitude of other styles and approaches he and his assembled cast live out. With piano and fender rhodes playing Kevin Hays, acoustic bass man Gianluca Renzi and dextrous drummer Arj Hoenig making up the 'backing band' it's little surprise that what the quartet produce is sumptuously performed, tightly executed jazz of the highest order. Manricks afforded the time to spread out through the solid and at times flashy base set out for him.

With "Thread" roaming and melodic, the overall feel is of tight looseness, where each member has a clearly defined role and yet the scope to push, pull and expand their parts within a framework. For proof just listen to the punchy percussion Hoenig is allowed to display as the remaining trio riff off each other in mighty fashion. That the next cut, a reimagining of "En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa (Julvisa) I Seek No Power Or Glory", composed by Jean Sibelius, is so refined and restrained, creates a mighty contrast. And yet it's no less assured or memorable, the dancing piano and sax poignant and heartfelt, although this time it's maybe Hays' piano that proves most memorable.

The only other non-original on display is the Miles Davis number "Deception", Manricks scaling up and down, staccato bursts quite captivating, the strong feel of a band pulling in the same direction in evidence once more, but again, not in a manner that makes them feel constrained in any way. From the other originals, "Forbidden Fruit" sounds every bit as brooding as its name suggests, while "Cloud Nine" adds a nodding wink of smoothness that maybe isn't seen anywhere else. Finally the wryly titled (and not wholly accurate) "ECMish" draws you in and seduces you in the most hypnotic way imaginable.

With a name like Chamber Jazz you could be forgiven for thinking that what Jacam Manricks has created here is a little one dimensional. However while classical themes and approaches appear throughout, this is a diverse, varied collection and one that's all the better for it.

Track Listing
1. Thread
2. En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa (Julvisa) I Seek No Power or Glory
3. ECMish
4. Wandina
5. Mood Swing
6. Beethoven
7. Deception
8. Forbidden Fruit
9. Cry
10. Cloud Nine

Added: January 1st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jacan Manricks online
Hits: 1776
Language: english

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