Gilman, Joe/Manricks, Jacám: Gilmanricks
As you immerse yourself deep into the mood of Gilmanricks - a collaboration between pianist Joe Gilman and saxophonist and synth-man Jacám Manricks - it's often easy to forget that this deeply involving journey only has two protagonists, such is its intensity. Through the starkness of its arrangements and the emotion behind the performances what is created becomes deeply personal, both in how it impacts upon you and the manner the pieces it contains were created in the first place. Right from the distorted piano strikes that reveal opener "Terra Two-Part", which was partly inspired by "Paterna Terra" by John Hollenbeck, you engage a world of relaxed but forceful moods that insist you absorb and partake in the stories they're trying to impart. The intriguingly titled piece holding a surprisingly evasive feel, that gives mind to a detective uncovering a cunning plot to foil him. It would appear we should expect the unexpected.
The personal side is revealed in stronger strokes through "Alibis And Lullabies", a piece inspired by and created mere days after the birth of Manricks' eldest daughter, the moving, melancholic but joyful piece a strong contrast to what came before. Something that the feel and flow of "How Shallow" continues, a contrafact on the Irving Berlin piece, "How Deep Is The Ocean", both taking you to the original, while, through the melodic piano structures and meandering sax, laying its own path. Other than one piece, Manricks composed the entire eight tracks on show, the exception being "Ethereal", where Gilman also takes a co-compositional bow. The result is an ever so slightly stronger piano purpose, where a dancing lilt nods an unintentional wink to the opening to Genesis's "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway"(!), the improvisational piece actually a series of preset harmonies without a predetermined melody or tempo. It's thoroughly enigmatic in its conclusion.
But then so is "Slippery" which lives up to its name by slithering and gliding across a jaunty but angular saxophone slide, where Gershwin's "I've Got Rhythm" is somehow made more serious while having ladles of good times spooned on top. "Rothko" heads us in a different direction altogether, offering up the opportunity to 'contemplate less familiar sonorities' through the inspiration of Mark Rothko's 'multiform' paintings. There's no doubt it's every bit as emblematic and challenging as that description suggests.
"Long Ago And Old Fashioned" lives up to both those aspects, this 'reharmonized composite contrafact' an immediately welcoming combining of Jerome King pieces, "Long Ago And Far Away" and "I'm Old Fashioned". Leaving "Intercept", which was inspired by both Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus" and Beethoven's "Ode To Joy", to bring this hugely rewarding collaboration to a close in decidedly wide ranging style.
With pieces drawing their origins from a broad range of sources, Gilmanricks still manages to create a cohesive journey that's intriguing and involving from the off, but which also reveals a host of deeper meanings and intentions the more time you spend with it.
1. Terra Two Part
2. Alibis and Lullabies
3. How Shallow
7. Long Ago and Old Fashioned
Added: October 6th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jacám Manricks on bandcamp
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