nzoa july 2019

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Reviewed by Jesse Austin

Myele Manzanza: OnePointOne

Reviewed by Jesse Austin

Myele Manzanza: OnePointOne

Myele Manzanza’s sophomore album is a significant statement in the realms of traditional jazz hybrid music – with the sub-title ‘Live at the Blue Whale Los Angeles’. Originally from Wellington, but now based in LA, Manzanza cut his teeth at the NZ School of Music while also playing as part of groups such as Electric Wire Hustle. Accompanied here by Mark de Clive-Lowe (piano/programming), Ben Shepherd (bass), Nia Andrews, Charlie K (vocals) and Quartetto Fantastico (led by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson), Manzanza makes sure not to draw attention to his drumming, rather taking a collaborative approach to the creation of the sound worlds presented. 7 Bar Thing begins as a repetitive pulse that continues seamlessly for eight minutes, moving itself around the ensemble, while also bringing it in and out of the foreground. Everybody Isn’t/A Long Walk steps back to place emphasis on the vocal, but in no way takes a step down in intensity, with a solid driving groove. ‘OnePointOne’ sees Manzanza take a leading role in terms of direction, but it is in no way a case of ‘look at me’. The carefully crafted rhythms and grooves that float across this record are not something to ignore, a refreshing taste in the mouth from a genre that can often be bland.