"Steps Ahead" of the usual
Going well past his frequent "fusion" tag, Manieri here works with Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and his band, which includes a samples programmer and a turntablist. Not that this is a particularly electronic outing. The avant sounds are one color in an organic, largely acoustic, frequently downtempo, palette. An interesting mix of standards (Nat King Cole/Miles Davis's Nature Boy, Miles's Flamenco Sketches, Coltrane's Naima), 6 Manieri originals and a Bjork Cover (I've Seen It All), Manieri is a generous leader as his vibes take back seat, especially to Molvaer and Swedish bassist Lars Danielsson. His flexibility as a composer/arranger also stands out- check the string quartet on Remembrance. A truly remarkable album.