Album Info

January 26, 1999
Jazz, Bop, Cool

Album Review

Shelly Manne's second "workshop" 10" LP is even more advanced than his first, at times reaching outside the West Coast cool jazz idiom toward contemporary classical music -- with no cover tunes this time. Where the first album was centered on a sax ensemble, Vol. 2 is devoted to a four-man brass group -- with Russ Freeman or Marty Paich on piano and Joe Mondragon on bass -- and this seems to have unleashed a wilder surge of creative freedom among Manne's six arrangers/composers. Indeed, some pieces virtually abandon jazz altogether. Bill Holman's "Lullaby" amounts to a gentle, free-flowing etude for brass and mallets, and Jimmy Giuffre's "Alternation" has no apparent key signature or steady pulse, a series of abstract proclamations colored by percussive effects. Shorty Rogers' extended "Shapes, Motion, Colors" takes off in all kinds of directions, with some straight-forward swinging portions that resemble contemporary classical music and a dialog for bass and tom-toms to close. However, Bob Cooper keeps his "Divertimento for Brass and Rhythm" swinging at all times, Marty Paich's "Dimension in Thirds" is a joyous piece loaded with brasses playing in thirds (big surprise), and Jack Montrose's "Etude De Concert" is a serious, intricate piece of work that somehow maintains a jazz feeling even when not explicitly spelling out the pulse. Manne is such a great, empathetic drummer that he is able to give most of this experimentation a solid rhythmic core on which to play. Given this music's esoteric bent, it's not surprising that it was reissued on CD only in a limited edition.
Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Dimension in Thirds
  2. Shapes, Motions, Colors
  3. Alteration
  4. Divertimento for Brass & Rhythm
  5. Lullaby
  6. Etude de Concert
  7. Concerto for Clarinet and Combo: 1st Movement [*]
  8. Concerto for Clarinet and Combo: 1st Movement [*]
  9. Concerto for Clarinet and Combo: 1st Movement [*]
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