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

Michael Chapman: 50 (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

Michael Chapman: 50 (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

Late last month this outsider singer-songwriter turned 76 and the album title refers to just how long he's been in the game. And mostly on the losing side when it came to public affection, but a... > Read more

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

When one-time Kiwi/longtime New Yorker Dean Wareham's former band Luna got to open for Velvet Underground at their brief reunion in '93 it must have semed like a dream come true: Luna owed a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WAYNE MACAULEY INTERVIEWED (2013): You want fries with that book?

WAYNE MACAULEY INTERVIEWED (2013): You want fries with that book?

If you're a fan of MasterChef and have glossy recipe books on your shelves, then Melbourne's Wayne Macauley has a novel for you. If you despise the current overload of television cooking shows... > Read more

FUTURE JAZZ by HOWARD MANDEL

FUTURE JAZZ by HOWARD MANDEL

In a recent column I said that when the histories of jazz last century are written one name will loom unnaturally large, that of trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis. I speculated this... > Read more