Glen Manby – Homecoming
(Mainstem MSTCD 0059. Review by Frank Griffith)
This finely integrated quintet speaks hard bop fluently while embracing other modern jazz idioms in a forward-thinking fashion. Glen Manby, a Cardiff-based altoist, is joined by a top London band with Steve Waterman, trumpet; Leon Greening, piano; Adam King, bass; and drummer Matt Home. They all fully rise to the occasion, with both cohesion and a familiarity with the elegant and clean arrangements.
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Manby has contributed seven distinguished themes, all with an incisive and quirky hard bop edge that drives this collection relentlessy throughout. The inclusion of Wayne Shorter’s Yes or No, Kenny Dorham’s Una Mas, and Quincy Jones’ Quintessence all provide variety and changes of mood.
Waterman’s shimmering trumpet is in cracking form throughout and is followed closely in the solo stakes by Leon Greening’s piano. His free-flowing lyricism provides an inspired foil to the horn’s outings. Bassist King is surely one of the finest of the younger players to have emerged for years. He scores highly alongside Home’s drums on Skippy with their eloquent “theme rumble” over the repeated closing melodic statement.
Manby is a graduate of the Jazz and Contempary Music Programme at The New School in NYC and went on to earn his MA in Jazz at the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He was also awarded an Arts Council of Wales Research and Development grant to study with the late saxophonist George Robert (1960-2016), founder and director of the Jazz Department of the Lausanne Conservatory (HEMU) in Switzerland.
Homecoming was funded by an Arts Council of Wales Project Grant and what a great investment this turned out to be. More of this please as this sort of funding is clearly lacking for jazz projects in recent times. A promising debut and one hopes that this band will have the oppportunity to tour. Hard bop lives and is in no better hands than the Glen Manby Quintet.
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