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

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kit Watkins - Beauty Drifting – Belying its apparent simplicity, this latest album from Kit — basically a piano album with some supporting synth work, recalls the ethereal spirit and moodiness of his classic Azure. The key to the...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues