Music Reviews

Maneri Ensemble

Going To Church

Aum Fidelity

Like its title suggests, Going To Church is a slightly more contemplative affair than the typical chaotic free-blowing session. That’s not to say the Maneri Ensemble has settled down to play anything as mundane as a discernable melody, but that’s besides the point.

The three monolithic tracks show a humble, yet solid sextet hard at work. At points, the wavering combination Mat Maneri’s viola and Joe Maneri’s clarinet, due to whatever intensive study of microtones they have been involved in, make for an unsettling, caustic equivalent to Bill Frisell’s guitar playing. At other points, though, the scribbles and sliding drones are patently unique.

Barre Phillips, Matthew Shipp, and Roy Campbell are already incredibly established, and drummer/Maneri mainstay Randy Peterson plays with a sympathetic ear. Yet with all of this alleged genius, the album gets off to a surprisingly mediocre start. With the first track taking up about half of the release, the entire piece seems to be direly unfocused, with a monotonous mid-tempo feel, and harshly execute dissonance with little emotion to back it.

It’s certainly made up for by the consecutive tracks, though. The barbiturate pace of “Before the Sermon” is dovetailed with the closing “Going To Church,” which builds into a smoldering, stomping, crushing colossus. The real feeling of the ensemble comes through here, achingly slow and abrasive, dragging, drunk, and dark. Going To Church is another consistent Maneri session that you can chock up to that enviable father and son relationship. Man. What I wouldn’t do to play free jazz with my father… especially if it sounded like this.

Aum Fidelity:

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