By Dave Cantor | Published September 2020
The approach multi-reedist Jacám Manricks takes on Samadhi—and his life spanning the globe, moving from Australia to the States for school in the early 2000s—seems to encompass a multiplicity of settings and ideas.
Even without a prodigious catalog to point to, the composer moves through music framed by strings and more compact ensembles, switching among saxophones, flutes and clarinets. For Samadhi, his fifth album as a leader, the Sacramento-based performer and educator enlists a new group to help him wend his way through a cultivated combination of jazz and nuanced classical touches.
On the title track—a word intrinsically linked to deep thinking and meditation—pianist Joe Gilman directs a ruminative meeting of slow-rolling saxophone lines and a subdued rhythm section. Manricks displays a penetrating bearing on his horn, traversing registers seemingly at will, enhancing the connection between the song’s title and the intent of his writing and playing. In contrast to the reclining mode of that tune, “Schmaltz”—animal fat used in cooking—almost comes off as a soul-jazz tune, rhythmically engaged and melodically enticing.
Just those two efforts aptly display the range and efficacy of Manricks’ artistry, while other efforts showcase the bandleader’s interest in toying with rhythm and his sense of play, moving listeners too quickly through an album that’s earned its title.