Al Maniscalco Quartet,
One Blessed Day
(Jalkoda, 2006)

Al Maniscalco plays traditional jazz. He's fond of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane tunes and looks to the standards for inspiration: "It Could Happen to You," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "I Have but One Heart" all appear on this CD. The lineup is traditional also: tenor and soprano sax, piano, bass and drums.

The fact that the CD relies on tradition is not to say it is weak in any way, though; after all, you don't say that a Mercedes is a bad car because it shares some features with a Buick, do you? Maniscalco has a way of taking the familiar and bringing his own style to it, so that instead of recreating the original songs, he works changes upon them.

His tone is fat and soulful, and the quartet knows how to cook. They support each other, fitting together like the individual ingredients in a good meal. Maniscalco and his compatriots -- Roy Dunlap on piano, Jeff Reed on bass and Eric Kennedy on drums -- blend together into a totality that is more than the sum of its parts. They play together with the ease and mutual support that results from a combined energy.

So many sax quartets consist of a soloist and three members of a rhythm section that support him; the leader never lets you forget that he is foremost, that he is the star. Here the band is the star. You'll like what they do.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

25 August 2007

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