Exposé Online banner

McGill Manring Stevens — This Is What We Do
(Free Electric Sound FES-1005, 2006, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2007-03-01

This Is What We Do Cover art

Much ado has been stated in the jazz press regarding the bastardization of cherished jazz standards meshed with dirty old rock and roll. The unwanted outcome: jazz-rock or fusion has been both a burden and a blessing for a few artists such as the McGill, Manring and Stevens trio, who still champion their own ideals for higher musical ground. Tackling several well known Miles Davis and Coltrane pieces where the best results lie with open arrangements focusing on the trio interplay which also was at the heart of the original performances as well. The Davis 60s quintet line-up tracks are represented by “Solar” and “Nefertiti,” along with Wayne Shorter’s signature piece, “Footprints,” and pianist Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” McGill and Manring have done a faithful rendering of the spacious mood of the songs, exchanging Shorter’s melodic sax lines between them. The group excels however on “Maiden Voyage,” with Manring giving a convincing solo that propels the piece. Bill Evans’s somber ballad “Blue in Green” dates back to the Kind of Blue era and in this trio format stands as an astute reflection on a timeless classic. Closing out the disc on a hard bop moment, Sonny Rollins’s “Oleo” is done up in more a straight jazz style as one might imagine a pre-Mahavishnu John McLaughlin to undertake. The additional live disc is a flash to five years back for a more intimate look at earlier trio endeavors. The emphasis then was again on trio interplay but within a familiar Allan Holdsworth construct. Both “Conflict Resolution” and “The Ripe One” occupy a mode similar to Holdsworth’s Metal Fatigue era where blistering riffs and phrasing drive heavy rock movements. Less derivative pieces include “Pools,” where Manring imparts a memorable Jaco-like solo, and the acoustic work out “The Voyage of St. Brendan.” The improv track contains a well conceived solo from Stevens that captures a comparative controlled energy similar to that of Steve Smith in the Vital Information bands. Overall these two discs indicate that jazz-rock is alive and well and in your face to stay.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Manring, Scott McGill, Vic Stevens

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zao - Akhenaton – Zao was a fantastic French fusion band that released a half dozen albums in the 70s. Formed by saxophonist Yochk'o Seffer and keyboardist Francois Cahen after leaving an early incarnation of Magma,...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues