Arturo Vera / Ethan Mann: Acoustic Project (2012)
All About Jazz
Published: September 2, 2010
Ethan Mann/ Self produced
It's All About a Groove is all about three self-effacing musicians having a fine time playing some music that burns with a cold fire, and swinging, sometimes with a fair gusto. Most of all this date is about uncomplicated, yet attractive improvisation, as a group that rarely veers far from the melody, but ventures far enough to create the right kind of buzz. Ethan Mann is a guitarist who has a lot to say in a voice that is uncompromisingly his own. But he prefers brevity to the filigreed approach, and makes statements innovatively, but succinctly. His harmonic conception relies on depth of color rather than myriad shades, and with restrained brush strokes he is able to generate a greater buzz than expected. His single note approach with some bent notes and a whisper of tremolo appears to suit the more heavy hand of Chip Crawford on the Hammond B3. Crawford can swing with the best and while he eschews the virtuoso playing style of Jimmy Smith and Lonnie Smith, he also comes from a deeply spiritual background albeit with a lighter touch, somewhat reminiscent of Papa Joe DeFrancesco. His solo on “Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart” best describes the fluent style, light of touch and with nuanced expression that Crawford applies with suave grace throughout the album. Of course, drummer, Greg Bandy has the funk and the groove that is the glue which holds this small unit together. It is no coincidence, then, that a phrase from the vocal on his “Woman Please” comes to characterize the entire album, as he sings how he came to write the piece in question. Bandy is an old soul who plays with fire and a great deal of dexterity. He plays with the deep sense of appealing to the rhythm of the saints, tapping out a swinging litany that accompanies his urgent prayer and sermon that he appears to preach in “Woman Please.” It's All About a Groove is one of those rare records that comes straight from--and aiming its musical missives straight at--the heart. This in itself is very rare in a day and age full of posturing and trying to be something that one is not. Three cheers for the blue notes and blue color blues here. Track Listing: Foxy; What Are You Doing For The Rest of Your Life; Betcha By Golly Wow; People Make The World Go 'Round; Stop, Look, Listen With Your Heart; Woman Please; Blues for Now; The Look of Love; Minor Steps; Easy Living; You and the Night and the Music. Personnel: Ethan Mann: guitar; Chip Crawford: keyboards: Greg Bandy: drums.
By Raul d'Gama Rose
There are some things in this world that at first appear to be encased in mystery, the secrets of which can only be revealed by the "experts" — free-verse poetry, modern art, okra. It turns out that no special knowledge is required to appreciate these things. You've just got to be open to a slight shift in perspective, allowing your concept of "fun" to expand.
This is an attitude that the jazz neophyte needs to be made aware of. Too often the genre is presented as this ultra-technical discipline that can only be fully appreciated and understood after years of study.
Yeah sure...diatonic scales, modes, chord substitutions, polyrhythms — they all describe the music. What they don't do is look into its essence. Can the concept of "groove" be mapped out in this way? Probably. Should it? Can a highly esoteric discussion of rhythms and their relationship to song structures be used to get at why a song with a full-on groove makes you want to get up on the coffee table and wave around the back of your front side? Obviously not!
None of this should imply that the musicians don't know their stuff. Guitarist Ethan Mannand his trio have decades of experience playing with the likes of Patience Higgins, Gary Bartz, Maria Schneider, Javon Jackson, and Pharoah Sanders. Still, all of the name-dropping in the world can't trump this simple fact:Its' All About A Groove will make those body parts wave.
The album starts off right in the pocket with Mann's "Foxy." With the loose-but-tight interplay between Mann and keyboardist Crawford, I'm immediately reminded of the great Wynton Kelly Trio record Smokin' At The Half Note, which featured Wes Montgomery. Not a bad way to get things going. This feel is maintained even during knottier compositions such as Crawford's "Minor Steps." The standout original here is Greg Bandy's "Woman Please." It's a nasty little tune that burns the groove down in a James Blood Ulmer sort of way. Bandy even provides some vocals. When he calls out for "some of that stinkin' organ," you just know you're in the middle of some serious fun.
Mann has made some terrific choices in the covers department with selections from the Stylistics songbook ("People Make The World Go 'Round", "Betcha By Golly Wow," "Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart"), Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life," and a slinky take on the Bacharach/David classic "The Look of Love." The latter tune serves up a great keyboard solo that manages to take things "out" without losing the vibe for a single second.
That's what it's all about, isn't it? It's not press rolls on the snare, or tricky key signature changes, or any of that stuff. Beginners and experts alike should just listen with their body. With grooves this intense, it'll know what to do.
Published: July 7, 2010
It’s All About a Groove is an entertaining new album by New York based guitarist, and Vermont native, Ethan Mann. Mann, who relocated to New York in 1991, currently leads the organ trio featured on this recording, consisting of Chip Crawford, keyboards, and Greg Bandy, drums. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Mann has studied with such jazz guitar luminaries as Rodney Jones and Jack Wilkins, and is currently on faculty at Crestwood Music Education Center and Manna House Workshops in East Harlem. The album starts off with the Gospel tinged “Foxy.” Throughout the tune, and the rest of the album, Mann and Crawford react well to each other, their solos helping to maintain the steady shuffle groove that defines the chart. Another highlight on the album is the Samba treatment given to the classic jazz standard “What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life.” This type of groove might not be expected on a tune like this, but it works very well. Each soloist is right on the money, each taking new and interesting harmonic turns in both the solo lines and the accompaniment. The album features some enjoyable original compositions by the members of the trio, including “Woman Please,” “Blues for Now” and “Minor Steps.” There is a section of music from the book of the Stylistics, “Betcha by Golly Wow,” “People Make The World Go Round” and “Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart,” as well as jazz standards such as “The Look of Love” and “Easy Living.” Mann’s trio work is reminiscent of the idiomatic vibe of the ‘60’s jazzers in both sound and style. His tone is bright and punchy, which contrasts well with Crawford’s rich organ sound. This group interacts on a deep level due to their time spent together on the bandstand, adding another level of interest to the album. Though the drums can be a bit busy at times, the high level of musical energy coming from the trio prevents it from becoming overwhelming.
It's All About a Groove
Ethan Mann Petunia Records (2010)
It's All About A Groove
Ethan Mann | Self Produced (2010)
Personnel: Ethan Mann: guitar; Chip Crawford: keyboards; Greg Bandy: drums.
While plenty of jazz fans are schooled musicians, an even greater number don't have significant training—or any training, for that matter—in music. These people might not know chord progressions or specific rhythmic patterns, but they do know if music feels good. When songs are stripped to their bare essence, the groove is often what creates the groundwork for everything else and allows the music to take shape. Guitarist Ethan Mann clearly agrees with this idea and made it the central theme on It's All About A Groove, but he doesn't sacrifice all of the other elements that add up to great music. This eleven-song program touches on everything from standards to The Stylistics—the Philadelphia based vocal soul group that had some success in the '70s—and the band sounds like its having a blast working its way through all of it. Mann's "Foxy" opens the album, and drummer Greg Bandy's light, shuffling ride cymbal—constantly evolving and avoiding stale repetition—keeps things interesting. Mann's sound on his solo leans toward a blues-rock vein, while organist/keyboardist Chip Crawford's playing has a lighter feel. "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life" is delivered with a pseudo-samba groove, and Mann's single-note lines are lethal. Three songs associated with The Stylistics come next, with "Betcha By Golly Wow" arriving first, and the easy grooving "People Make The World Go 'Round" following. The final song of this aural triptych—"Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart—is the most satisfying of the three and Mann's fondness for Wes Montgomery comes through in his treatment of the melody. Crawford, not to be outdone, mixes up choppy statements and single-note ideas during his equally impressive performance. Bandy's booming voice makes an appearance on "Woman Please," changing the group dynamic. A 12/8 blues feel is at the heart of this piece and, while the lyrics don't amount to much, Bandy's voice is a wonder to behold and brings a natural, raw intensity into the music. "Blues For Now" is built on a slippery swing feel from Bandy, and the drummer gets ample space to solo on this one. While his playing is a bit too busy and distracting on "The Look Of Love," his drumming perfectly meshes with his trio mates on "Minor Steps," a song based on John Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps." Mann's solo guitar take on "Easy Living" is a treat and shows off a different side to his playing, while "You And The Night And The Music" closes out the album and features some fun solo trading between all three musicians. In the end, It's All About A Groove amounts to more than just its name...but it certainly feels good too. Track listing: Foxy; What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life; Betcha By Golly Wow; People Make The World Go 'Round; Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart; Woman Please; Blues For Now; The Look Of Love; Minor Steps; Easy Living; You And The Night And The Music.
By Dan Bilowsky
MASTER OF A SMALL HOUSE
MEDITATIONS ON MUSIC OF A MAINLY IMPROVISED VARIETY
Tuesday May 25, 2010
Ethan Mann IT'S ALL ABOUT A GROOVE (Petunia)
Truth in titular advertising definitely applies to this trio date. Groove and feel are paramount to guitarist Ethan Mann’s musical philosophy. Keyboardist Chip Crawford and drummer Greg Bandy are of a shared music-making consciousness. All three men have been gigging since their teens in a multitude of setting. Bandy had the distinction of working New York City clubs during the Seventies and good fortune to curry favor with profile band leaders like Pharoah Sanders and Gary Bartz. Mann and Crawford never hit it quite that big on their cabaret cards, but both have stayed busy over the decades as well.
Mann designs the program as a reflection of a typical club set for the trio and the player’s formative Seventies-selves play palpable roles. Once again that titular mantra is at the forefront of their interplay and execution from the opening “Foxy” onward with blues and funk as recurring undercurrents. Popular song serves as another wellspring for the band songbook starting with Michel Legrand’s Latinized easy listening favorite “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life.” Mann handles the leads with aplomb and Crawford lays down populous support with his instrument zeroed in on organ and Rhodes settings. Bandy’s often the glue, his rhythms tying each piece together without constraining his colleagues in their own contributions.
Mann offers mild surprises in a three-song shout out The Stylistics starting with “Betcha By Golly Wow”, outfitted with a pleasant if slightly schmaltzy lounge groove built on a rubbery electronic bass line from Crawford. “People Make the World Go Round” fares better with a harder rhythm and a stronger melody as the trio convincingly sets the studio calendar back to 1972. The piece also allows Bandy to breakdown his bonafides as a funky drummer through a string of killer break beats. Obligatory Coltrane comes out in Mann’s thin contrafact “Minor Steps” and there’s even room for a vocal by the guitarist on the near-parody talking blues number “Woman Please”. A pleasant enough session, this set is far from essential, but that’s also an appraisal these convivial players would no doubt agree on.
POSTED BY DEREK AT 2:51 PM
Volume 33/Number 213 June 2, 2010
PETUNIA ETHAN MANN/ It's All About a Groove:
The guitarist shows his organ trio side with a jumping date that shows as much Philly soul as it does originals. Fun, jumping date that is simply all about a groove and this crew is expert at striking a great one. Hot stuff.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher Copyright 2010 Midwest Record
Central Park North Year: 2000
|C H I N A R O A D 4 U|
|on the road again|
A groovy state of mind
A couple of weeks ago my New York friend Ethan Mann send me a copy of his new CD ‘It’s all about a groove’. I put the CD in the player and Foxy it was! The trio was really grooving the jazz blues away. Ethan playing the melody, Chip (Crawford) replying on the organ and Greg (Bandy) playing the swinging rhythm. In the next track of Michel Legrand (‘What are you doing for the rest of your life’) Ethan and the guys create an exciting jazz club atmosphere. Yes they can groove on a bossa nova! The third track brings back the feeling of the famous New York TV serie ‘Taxi’ and the Bob James sound. You can imagine driving on the Brooklyn Bridge and someone tells you: ‘Betcha by golly wow’. And yes they can also play a funky groove in ‘People make the world go round’. Ethan really takes the lead in this track and the trio is at it’s best on this track. Is it Wes Montgomery or Ethan Man on ‘Stop, Look, listen to your heart’? Ethan takes it a level higher with a marvelous single note solo. Chips is also on the move with his Jimmy Smith like Hammond B3 organ. Nothing but the blues and Greg on vocals on ‘Woman Please’. Ethan playing the blues like it should, moody and sophisticated evolving in the next bluestrack (‘Blues for now’). The tempo is fast and furious with a solo of Greg on drums. Recently the Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis met Burt Bacharach and recorded ‘The look of love’. Ethan’s guitar catches the essence of her singing the song. The jazz club feeling continues in ‘Minor steps’ and the intimate ‘Easy living’. The album ends with ‘You and the night and the music’. What do you need more? This trio grooves!
|C H I N A R O A D 4 U|
|on the road again|
Central Park New York: impressionism in jazz What brought me to New York? Was it because of the music scene, the melting pot of cultures, the swing of Harlem or the attraction of the Central Park? I think it was a combination of everything. In uptown Harlem (135th Street) Timuçin Şahin offered his hospitality. He is a guitar player who enriches and surprises modern jazz with his Ottoman sounds and riffs. His apartment became my basis to explore the New York jazz scene. In the Jazz Gallery I got to know the Dan Weiss trio. Dan is a drummer as well as a tabla player and that he will let you know. He made an overwhelming impression on me and was able to create the most exciting rhythms with sticks, brushes and hands. He is rightfully an expressionist in jazz. After having visited some other jazz clubs I found the music of Ethan Mann on the web. His compositions and especially the color of his guitar tone attracted my attention. It brought back memories of my high school days during the mid seventies. I still know I played the live record of Jim Hall so often that it turned grey. Especially the pieces ; The way you look tonight, and Scrapple from the apple. Being young and reckless I tried to play them with help of a copy of the Real Book. What I like about Ethan is that he uses the tradition of the jazz standards to establish impressions from his habitat (Central Park north adjacent to Harlem) in his own melancholic compositions. The sound of the performance can be called special and reminds me as mentioned earlier of Jim Hall. His playing radiates a satisfaction and a calmness which was so known for the late Barney Kessel. That is the way Ethan also is as a person as I had the honor to experience on a Sunday afternoon in the Hungary Pastry Shop (corner Amsterdam and 112th Street). Once Joris Teepe director of Jazz Studies at the Hanze University (The Netherlands) has invited Ethan to change his domicile for the Netherlands. Who knows if I can persuade him someday to do a tour in the Netherlands. Perhaps drummer Steve Altenberg with whom he did some gigs in New York and now lives in Amsterdam can participate. Ethan performs as a solo artist and as a sideman and teaches students at a New York school of music. It has been already nine years since his solo album, Central Park North was published. The title track gives an impression of the serenity of the park, its slopes and its rock gardens. In his more recent work he has grown as can be listened on his live album. The last piece of that album called Introduction, is a truly master piece and has a feeling which can be compared to an evergreen like In a sentimental mood of Duke Ellington. Such a relaxed and recognizable musical motif and played so laid back. Please get acquainted with this modest impressionist in jazz !
The Happening 2010 - Concert Review
January 10, 2010
The warmup act was vocalist Francina Connors with Ethan Mann (guitar), Leopoldo Fleming (percussion), and Reggie Workman (bass). Fleming's sparse percussion of various hand drums, triangles, and chimes left Connors' beautiful voice wonderfully exposed in the reverberant sanctuary of Saint Peter's. Workman and Mann accompanied with tasteful reservation for what was a perfect beginning.
By Kevin Danenberg
Featured Artist: Ethan Mann
CD Title: Central Park North Year: 2000 Record Label: Petunia Records Style: Straight-Ahead Jazz
Musicians: Ethan Mann (guitar), with Bill Moring (bass), Rahn Burton (organ), Scott Neumann (drums).
Yes, folks…ANOTHER guitar player - but have no fear, Ethan Mann is ok here. The title of the record sets the stage for a Manhattan-feel set, and Mann doesn't disappoint. His tone is warm and sultry like a New York mid-summer/early fall night, and you can really get wrapped up in it like a blanket. Stylistically around the Jim Hall/Wes ballpark, Mann's approach is bluesy at times, more often he is reminiscent of Grant Green, and his lines are melodic, weaving in and out of the somewhat basic vamps provided by organist Rahn Burton, or the lobbing bass lines courtesy of Bill Mohring. Some of the tunes featuring organ on this record remind me a bit of the Montgomery Brothers trio recordings, both in style and mood. Some standout tunes on this record where Mann shines stretch are "Study Of Mann", "Reminisce", and even the Mingus fave "Goodbye Porkpie Hat". "Blues For Jimmy Armstrong" is a cool 1-4-5 swinger where Mann gets to really stretch, and you will hear a lot of the legends in him : Ellis, Kessel, Pass and Wes are very strong flavors here, but Mann is by no means copping lines. His tone stays true to the darker, drier sounds of yesterday, while utilizing a lot of melodic flexibility of today. If you want a cool, mellow, straight-up jazz guitar CD, Mann delivers it - and he stays true to that NYC overtone which has defined so many performing legends before him.
Ethan Mann Central Park North
Mann offers subdued electric guitar work in an impressionistic Cool/Bop vein. Lush, pillowy chord voicings hallmark his tasteful playing.
Luther Thomas Quartet Leave it to Luther
CIMP Year: 2004
The quartet, which includes Ethan Mann on guitar, Smith on bass and Clifford Barbaro on drums, is capable of many moods. Their renditions of “Body and Soul,” “Groovin' High” and “'Round Midnight” are completely contemporary while staying true to the original spirit of the songs. “Body and Soul” is a nice duo between Thomas and Mann; The leader is an inspired lyrical player, sweet and melodic, yet he readily catches fire in his solos. “'Round Midnight” is also notable, with Thomas capturing the song's poignancy and Mann adding delicate shades of color throughout. Of the original compositions, “Belona” is particularly winning. The melody is lighthearted and swinging and Thomas' playing fresh and joyful. Again Mann deserves mention; his guitar is sonorous and vibrant and he clearly enjoys his interplay with Thomas. Another great cut is “Up South,” a high energy tune with a bluesy feel. Then there's “Leave it to Luther,” where Thomas lets loose with furious, explosive lines. The CD's method of blending something old with something new generates positive heat, with Thomas' impassioned blowing and sense of adventure propelling the music forward.
Catalog Number: CIMP 287 Leave it to Luther
Luther Thomas (Alto Sax), Ethan Mann (Guitar), Brian Smith (Bass), Cliff Barbaro (Drums) 287 Luther Thomas (alto sax) - Ethan Mann - (guitar) - Brian Smith (bass) - Cliff Barbaro (drums)
The distinct energized sound of Luther Thomas is all over the 9 cuts on this CD which includes "Groovin' High," "Body & Soul," and "'Round Midnight." Unexpected is the presence of Ethan Mann?s hip and complementary guitar work. Like Luther, this music is irrepressible. Recorded April 15, 2003, Rossie, NY. Leave It To Luther - Belona - Tatjana - Body and Soul - Groovin' High - Luther's Theme - Nova Zembla - Up South - 'Round Midnight
Andree Pages Original Jazz, Blues & One Lonesome Cowboy
2008 Andree Pages (634479768903) (format: CD-R)
Pages first heard guitarist Ethan Mann at a street fair in New York many years ago and was immediately captivated by his smooth and sinuous sound. On .The Shakespeare Years, Mann combines with Elfenbein, Moreno, and Diaz to deliver an engaging jazz-funk feel, as well as an absolutely masterful solo. On the blues , If You Think The Hurtin's Over, he plays rhythm and the haunting and sensual solo in the middle. The well-known avant-garde drummer Lou Grassi drives the tune on drums.
LUTHER THOMAS QUARTET - leave it to luther (CIMP 287) Featuring Luther Thomas on alto sax, Ethan Mann on guitar, Brian Smith on bass and Cliff Barbaro on drums.
Former St. Louis sax legend Luther Thomas has been living in Denmark for the past five years and rarely comes to NY to play, seemingly having disappeared from our scene. He has recorded three other fine cds for the CIMP label since moving there and has put together another strong quartet offering with two veterans, as well as the up and coming jazz guitarist Ethan Mann. I remember bassist Brian Smith from his days of playing with fellow AACM players - Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams and drummer Cliff Barbaro from his work with John Hicks and Charles Tolliver, although I haven't heard from either of these two in many years. The title track, which opens, is long and slow burning and has the sax and guitar freely spinning intensely as they are pushed higher by the solid sailing rhythm team. The quartet do strong renditions of standards like "Body and Soul", "Groovin' High" and Monk's "'Round Midnight", as well as three covers by Hugh Steinmetz. They don't really take these bop standards very far out, but still play them with intense fire, both Luther and Ethan soloing passionately. Although "Luther's Theme" begins at a slow pace, the sax and guitar soon start spinning their lines together at a furious rate, more and more quickly, before they slow back down and then speed up again. "Nova Zembla" also follows a similar scheme of starting slowly and taking off for the freer, faster terrain in the mid-section with some really explosive out sax from Luther. Overall, this is a well balanced session with some inspired straight ahead tunes and strong soloing throughout. CD only release for $14.
Downtown Music Gallery
JaRon Eames Sounds Goot To Me!
JaRon Eames, vocals Amy Quint, piano Michael Weisberger, alto & tenor sax Ethan Mann, guitar Akira Ando, bass Walter Perkins, drums
.......Ethan Mann plays breezy single string blues guitar solos like T-Bone Walker. .