Myele Manzanza: OnePointOne (First Word)

 |   |  1 min read

Absent Fade
Myele Manzanza: OnePointOne (First Word)

Knowing only that drummer Manzanza was formerly in New Zealand's electronica-soul outfit Electric Wire Hustle doesn't prepare you for this vigorous and out-there second album under his own name.

Recorded live at the Blue Whale in LA with keyboard player Mark de Clive-Lowe, bassist Ben Shepherd and singers Nia Andrews and Charlie K (plus the exceptional Quartetto Fantastico string quartet) this is edgy, angular, often exciting and sometimes demanding jazz which – with the inclusion of violins – sometimes harks back to spirit of free jazz in the Seventies by the likes of the Revolutionary Ensemble and Leroy Jenkins. But much more melody-directed.

Opening with the stately but rumbling undercurrents on A Love Eclectic it alludes to late period Coltrane (although doesn't aim for his spiritual reach) before the strings, de Clive-Lowe's Rhodes and the swooping bass establish an oblique funk.

This leads easily into the more measured opening passages of Absent Fade which ascends on De Clive-Lowe's piano in a tour-de-force solo driven by the urgent drums.

These two openers stake out a lot of ground, subsequently explored, and African influences are also part of the contract (7 Bar Thing, again with squirreling violin, which resolves into exotic widescreen soul-funk with vocalist Andrews).

Not everything works: Singer Andrews some might describe as an acquired taste and Everybody Isn't/A Long Walk never quite settles on what kind of thing it wants to be (part declamatory word recitation – rap would be too strong a word – or yelping soul ballad).

And does play its aces early on.

But the breezy then more turbulent ballad City of Atlantic towards the end with Charlie K on evocative, political rap and a more focused Andrews pulls things up a notch again in the second half.

Must have been a good night at the Blue Whale . . . and Manzanza is not just an exceptional soloist but a powerful team player. He even hands over the final seven minutes to Shepherd for a driving bass workout.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Guy Clark: Workbench Songs (Dualtone)

Guy Clark: Workbench Songs (Dualtone)

Clark has been one of the pillars of West Texas/Mex-influenced singer-songwriters, and of his dozen or so albums at least half would be in any serious country and alt.country collection. For... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SIMON THACKER'S RITMATA ENSEMBLE REVIEWED (2015): An intimate stamping of the musical passport

SIMON THACKER'S RITMATA ENSEMBLE REVIEWED (2015): An intimate stamping of the musical passport

Given the musical breadth, geographic width and emotional depth of Simon Thacker's music it was disappointing that his sole Auckland concert — the final on a nine-date New Zealand tour... > Read more

George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

In his later years George Harrison developed an affection for the ukulele, and one of its greatest practitioners, English music hall comedian, singer and actor George Formby. Right at the end... > Read more