CD Trinity [Mat Maneri] [CD] [1 disc] (CD 1170169), Audio Other
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Trinity [Mat Maneri] [CD] [1 disc]
1. Pure Mode
2. Almost Pretty
4. Sun Ship
5. Blue Deco
7. Iron Man
9. November 1st
10. Lady Day's Lament
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 543444
Solo performer: Mat Maneri (violin, viola).
Recorded at Gateway Studio, Kingston, Jamaica in July 1999. Includes liner notes by Michael Sliwkowski.
Personnel: Mat Maneri (violin, viola).
Recording information: Gateway Studio, Kingston, Jamaica (07/1999).
Mat Maneri's first solo project, a solo-acoustic violin and viola recital, is an ambitious reach for any musician playing the range of material he has chosen in the manner in which he has selected for its execution. Maneri assembled works by Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris (two of his current running partners) and placed them against his own compositions as well as those of Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, and his father, microtonal saxophonist and composer Joe. In a showcase of dexterity and technique, this would have been an audacious program. But there is no special importance placed on technique in this hearing, it is voice and song that give Maneri his signature on the instrument. At 31, Maneri has already played with everyone from Cecil Taylor and William Parker to Pandelis Karayogis to John Surman to Marilyn Crispell -- not too mention his place in a trio with his father and Barre Phillips. The set opens with Shipp's "Mode," a piece Maneri has played with the composer on record and in concert numerous times. To hear him cycle through the modes -- element by element, note by note, line by interval -- is hypnotic. There is a multivalent quality to his playing that offers traces of another violinist, Leroy Jenkins. In his own "Almost Pretty," Maneri reveals his penchant for blends, however angular, of jazz phrasing with chamber music's dynamics. There are more than traces in his meld of world musics and baroque fugue -- there are deep veins running through their intersections in his intricate tone rows and long lines of melodic invention. So too, in "Trinity" he layers three tone rows on top of one another, plays through them, and finds a fugue to improvise upon before returning to their structures, finally dissembling them ever so gently one down and again into silence. His read of Dolphy's "Iron Man" is of particular interest because he finds the melody centered around another interval than the original and creates an improvisation from there, always conscious of the composition's center where he returns to find the theme, altered but recognizable as a tonal simulation of itself. The disc closes with a Joe Maneri composition entitled "Lady Day's Lament," dedicated to the spirit of the music created by Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Given the older Maneri's microtonal methodology, this piece is a deeply moving surprise. It is elegiac as the title would suggest, but the piece isn't so "out" there that the particular building blocks of the musical magic created by the pair in the 1950s can't be recognized. Maneri quotes incrementally in a series of tone rows and ranges from some of the pair's best-known tunes. The plucked strings offer a rhythmic element that suggests more than one voice at work in the piece, rendering it all the more dramatic. It's a fitting and stirring finish to a mystifying debut by a devastatingly creative and deftly talented musician. ~ Thom Jurek
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