|Bates/Linz/McManus, a trio effort joining drummer J.T Bates, bassist Adam Linz and McManus, begins with a persistent bass motif that Linz doggedly sticks to as Bates enters with off-kilter drum beats and McManus strums dissonant extrapolations. Unified by a common melodic theme, the players nonetheless maintain three distinctly different approaches, occasionally coming together in brief harmony before restlessly setting off on disparate paths.
A collection of trios, duets and solos, the album is a mixture of unique improvisations, ranging from the stuttering trio groove of “x(fin)” to the desolate, distorted soundscape that is “Cataclysm”. McManus’ skills as a guitarist and knack for experimentation are apparent throughout, most strikingly on “Arepticious”, a piece that features his distorted guitar amid patched electronic samples and the kind of stuttering interference that results from holding a cell phone up to an amplifier.
This kind of freewheeling, minimalist improvisational style is a potent mix of jazz, classical and rock. Drawing equally from Jimi Hendrix, Steve Reich and Derek Bailey, McManus and company seem hell-bent on not only creating a unique group sound, but also redefining the role and accepted notions of their respective instruments.
By Matthew Miller/All ABout Jazz New York