The California based Posi-Tone Records label is acquiring for itself a reputation for incubating young mainstream jazz talent. Jacam Manricks is a new addition to their lineup, he has a has a nice and individual tone on the alto saxophone, a light and floating texture that makes a marked contrast to the more pinched and citrus feel favored my many other alto players. On this album he is performing with Gary Versace on piano, Joe Martin on bass and Obed Calvaire on drums with Alan Ferber on trombone and Scott Wendholt on trumpet sitting in on a few tracks. Most of the tracks on this album are original compositions with the exception of a very nice reading of Eric Dolphy's "Miss Ann" that places Manricks' light an nimble saxophone in open space, supported by just bass and drums. His tone and attack as an instrumentalist is far removed from Dolphy's, and his milder texture brings a new perspective to a familiar song. There's space for a lengthy bass solo and Martin responds with a thick, strong turn soloing deftly supported by light percussion. "Sketch" is a successful quartet track, with Manricks taking on a more urgent tone, and supported by nicely textured piano and drums. "Mood Swing" slows the pace down, taking on a moody and atmospheric air. Piano probes gently up to a break, until the saxophone takes over picking up the pace slightly to a dynamic finish. The band's patient and subtle style of music works quite well, and should make their music accessible to mainstream jazz fans. That's not to say they lack verility, the Dolphy cover shows that they can play in a gutsy and progressive fashion as well. But it is the slow burn that appeals to them, and fans of subtle saxophone by the likes of Mark Turner or Chris Cheek will find a lot to enjoy here. Trigonometry - amazon.com
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Ian Brighton – Now and Then (Confront, 2016) ****
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