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

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kestrel - Kestrel – Here's another mid-70s British prog rock albums with Mellotron and sounding like Fruupp, Spring, Fantasy, and all those I mentioned in the Cressida review. Here is where the music gets a bit too...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues