Chuck Manning and Steve Huffsteter. Two of the Southland’s most inventive jazz horn players, saxophonist Manning and trumpeter Huffsteter wrap their improvisational skills around every tune, stimulating each other’s creative imaginations. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
Tue, Sep 30th 5:27pm
NEXT: the creative curiosity of the scientist–artist
I've had the honor of being asked to join a panel with KPCC radio series host Mat Kaplan for a discussion with scientists who are also accomplished artists. Although, I'm not a scientist, I will join Crystal Dilworth PhD, Daniel Durda PhD, and James Gimzewski PhD and we will discuss how science and engineering informs our art, and how music is reflected in our work. These two worlds seem very different and are often portrayed as being at odds. In fact, scientists find inspiration in each field for their work in the other. We will explore this connection between artistic expression and scientific discovery in this edition of the series.
Saturday, October 4, 2:00 - 3:30pm
I have to cancel my Pinnochio's gig on Sat Sept. 13th.
I have a schedule conflict that evening with the DMQ. I will try to make out at 10:00PM if possible.
Thanks for supporting the music!
Thu, Jul 24th 6:25pm
3 nice gigs and 2 Koonse's this weekend 7/25, 7/26, 7/27!
I'm playing with the great Larry Koonse Friday at Vibrato with Pat Senatore on bass and Tina Raymond on drums.
Then on Saturday I'm back at Novel with the ultra-subtle group the VR Smith Quartet.
Featuring VR Smith – Vocals, Putter Smith - Bass, Larry's dad Dave Koonse – Guitar and Tim Pleasant – Drums.
On Sunday morning brunch at the Hermosa Beach Lighthouse I'm playing with the amazing Carl Saunders Sextet featuring some of the most amazing cats in town!
Tue, Mar 18th 4:41pm
The classic Los Angeles Jazz Quartet makes rare appearances
I'm playing with my old friends and long time band mates Larry Koonse, Darek Oles and Mark Ferber for two rare appearances.
March 28th, 2014 - 7:45 PM - Soka Performing Arts Center March 29th, 2014 - 8:30 PM - Blue Whale Jazz Club, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
If you are using MS i Explorer and don't see the buttons over my right shoulder of my picture then you need to use a different web browser. Sorry, I will fix this site someday....
March 28th, 2014 - 7:30 PM - Los Angeles Jazz Quartet at Soka University
March 29th, 2014 - 8:00 PM - Los Angeles Jazz Quartet, Blue Whale Jazz Club, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Thu, Jan 9th 10:55am
Playing with some old friends this weekend
On Thursday, Jan 16th at 9:00pm I will be playing with Robby Krieger's Jam Kitchen Band with my bud Sal Marquez and my next door neighbor Joel Taylor at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood and on Friday, Jan 17th at 8:00pm the same band is at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.
It should be fun.
Mon, Dec 30th 4:55pm
Happy New Year!
I will be ending 2013 and starting 2014 with a jam at the Blue Whale. So, come join us at blue whale for New Years Eve! We'll have a motley crew of great musicians, including Jason Harnell, Mike Scott, Jamie Rosenn, Dave Tranchina, and Gary Fukushima on hand to make some noise, and there will be ample opportunities for musicians to sit in. Think of it as a New Year's party for jazz musicians.
July 27th, 2013 - 7:00 PM - with VR Smith Quintet Novel Cafe 1713 E Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91106, (626) 683-3309 http://novelcafe.com -
July 28th, 2013 - 1:15 PM - With Jamael Dean Quartet Central Ave. Jazz Festival 4225 S. Central Ave Los Angeles, CA 90008 http://www.centralavejazz.org/ -
The festival is located at the intersection of 42nd and Central in front of the historic Dunbar Hotel Jamael Dean-Piano Donald Dean-Drums Nedra Wheeler - Bass
Fri, Jul 12th 3:56pm
Playing with some old friend this weekend.
This Saturday, July 13th, I'll be back playing some straight-ahead jazz with the Donavan-Muradian Quartet at Pinnochio's Pizza in Pasadena. Pinocchio's is located at 1449 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104, and has great Italian food (pizzas/pasta/salads) and a nice selection of beers & wines. Call 626-791-7591 for reservations.
Here's the lineup:
Chuck Manning - sax
Chad Edwards - piano
Larry Muradian - bass
Jeff Donavan - drums
8 - 11 PM, no cover. Hope to see you there!
Wed, Jul 3rd 2:17pm
Had a great time in China!
What wonderfully nice people we met in Changsha, China! It would be a privilege to go back again someday. We had such fun and the huge amount of young people who came out really seemed to love the music. There were up to17,000 folks that came out each night. It was amazing.
I will be playing with VR Smith and company this Saturday July 6th. We will be joined by the great New Zealand drummer, Frank Gibson.
Have a great 4th of July!
Mon, Jun 3rd 9:33am
Chuck Manning at the Orange Island International Jazz Festival in Changsha, China
I'm excited to announce that I'll be joining Bill Cunliffe, Matthew Gordy, Christopher Colangelo, Bob Sheppard, John Proulx, Chuck Berghofer, and Kendall Kay at the Orange Island International Jazz Festival in Changsha, China (Hunan Province) on June 10, 11, and 12! Orange Island International Jazz Festival
Hey all, On May 31st, Friday, I will be sitting in for Azar Lawrence at the RG Club in Venice Beach, CA at 2536 Lincoln Blvd, just north of Washington. The band is made up of famous band leaders that I have recorded with: Theo Saunders -piano, Henry Franklin - bass, Alphonse Mouzon - drums Cover: $15 9PM-12:00AM http://rgclubvenice.com/ It's sure to be an intense evening of music.
Wed, May 15th 5:16pm
Playing with the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet this weekend.
I have some interesting events coming up. First, playing with one of my really long time friends Riner Scivally at Pinnochio's in Pasadena Sat. Then Sun. PM with one of my newest friends, the young 13 year old Jamael Dean, who is a terror and plays like Herbie Hancock. Then playing Wed nite a the Altadena Ale House with Joe Sample's drummer Joel Taylor, Bruce Springsteen's bassist Carlitos Del Puerto, Steve Tyrell's pianist Quinn Johnson --But really these guys really need no name dropping introductions, they are the best and will just jam hard!!
See my calendar for details.
Wed, Mar 20th 2:30pm
Playing at LA's newest jazz club Satuday
Hey all, On March 23, Saturday, I will be sitting in for Azar Lawrence at the RG Club in Venice Beach, CA at 2536 Lincoln Blvd, just north of Washington. The band is made up of famous band leaders that I have recorded with: Theo Saunders -piano, Henry Franklin - bass, Alphonse Mouzon - drums Cover: $15 9PM-12:00AM http://rgclubvenice.com/ It's sure to be an intense evening of music.
Fri, Mar 8th 1:01pm
Playing with my mentor of 30+ years
I'm really looking forward to playing with my long-time mentor, trumpeter, Bobby Bradford in his Mo Tet Sunday Mar. 10th. . I first met him in 1980 and took his jazz ensemble class at PCC. It took a couple years later that I was one of his regular/irregular sax players in his Mo tet (That's mo or less the number of cats in the band). I learned a lot form Bobby and consider it an honor to be playing with him still after all these years.
... "One of the West Coast's most under-appreciated and under-recorded jazz treasures," (Santa Barbara Independent) this ensemble is hailed for performing a wide range of jazz from the highly structured to free improvisational styles.
3:00 p.m. Sunday, March 10 Bridges Hall of Music Free Admission, with open seating
Thu, Feb 28th 11:15am
Rare appearance with Los Angeles Quartet
I am so excited about playing with our old band, the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet with Larry Koonse, Darek Oles and Mark Ferber this Saturday at the Blue Whale in downtown L.A. We have been playing together since the early 1990's and have developed a chemistry that comes out of nowhere the minute we start playing that only gets better as these guys mature into giants of their instruments. I'm very lucky to be associated with this group.
Please join us. See my calendar for details.
Mon, Sep 17th 5:03pm
Theo Saunder's CD is now out
We just had a successful CD release party at the Crown for Theo's
"When The Saints Go Out" [AJ0198] on Arabesques Records. It sounded fantastic!
Hi! I think this will be one of Henry's best with Henry on bass, Gibert Castellanos on trumpet, Theo Saunders on piano, Ryan Porter on trombone, Ramon Banda on drums, with guests vocalists Dwight Trible and Mon David. Look for it in a few months.
Mon, Jan 30th 3:18pm
Working on a new CD
Well it's about time.
It's been more than 4 years.
I am finally putting together material that I will use on my next CD which I hope will be done this year (2012). I know a lot of people are asking, what's taking me so long? I'm not sure, but I have been busy with other peoples' projects in the last few years and there is a certain procrastination that comes with being busy. I think things are slowing down enough now to start the Manning CD project one more time.
Wish me luck.
Thu, Jan 20th 4:16pm
Brick's Picks: Hard-Ass Jazz
By Brick Wahl Thursday, Jan 20 2011- LAWeekly
Tenor Chuck Manning is back at Charlie O's on Saturday. We just saw him with Mat Marucci at Jax and what a couple sets that was, with Marucci's propulsive, rolling, explosive drumming and Manning's furious, rollicking blasts of smart post-bop or whatever it is we're calling all that post-Trane saxophonery now. Manning has the ballsy John Heard Trio behind him here. Quite a night.
...since Charlie O's is an old-fashioned hard-ass jazz room. (In the old days in NYC and Chicago, jazzmen were tough as hockey players, as many a guy who couldn't play his ax discovered in the alleys out back.) And while no one gets hurt at Charlie O's — too many lawyers at the bar — you don't wanna be too sensitive on that stage. John Heard hates that wimpy shit.
Wed, Dec 22nd 5:38pm
LA WEEKLY: BRICK'S PICKS: A CHARLIE O'S CHRISTMAS
By Brick Wahl Thursday, Dec 23 2010
Charlie O's is the quintessential jazz room. Outside is a nondescript stretch of the Valley, but you walk inside and it's dark, with a low stage at one end and a handful of players jamming their asses off. So leave it to this joint to book saxist Chuck Manning with John Heard's house trio when you're all supposed to be home with the eggnog and Andy Williams. Manning's intensity really comes out with John Heard behind him; there's a toughness to his sound at Charlie O's. He probably has that sound everywhere he plays, actually, it's just something you notice more at Charlie O's, the way you notice the chance-taking at the World Stage or new ideas at the Blue Whale. A great room has a vibe, and Charlie O's has that badass, nothing-but-straight-ahead vibe. Which makes it special. And not sappy on Christmas Eve.
I just got a last minute call to play at Charlie O's (I think I'm becoming the house saxophonist) Friday Oct. 1st at 8:00. You just never know. Then I'll be heading over to Henry "the Skipper" Franklin's birthday jam on Sunday.
Tue, Sep 21st 5:03pm
Playing with my old bud on Wendesday
I just want to let everyone know that I'm playing with my old friend and comrade guitarist genius Larry Koonse on Wed 9/22/10 at Charlie O's with the Jimmy Branly Quartet, Jimmy on burning drums and the solid as a rock Chris Coangelo on bass- it's gonna be fun!
Wed, Mar 10th 12:49pm
GO TO THE CALENDAR TO FIND OUT MY SCHEDULE
I have some great gigs coming up!
Wed, Mar 10th 12:48pm
There are some amazing young jazz players in LA right now
I just want to let everyone know that the replacements have arrived. Yes, that means the older guard jazz cats will be replaced with the great new talent that is brewing up some serious concoctions. You can hear them blowing at various places in town such as the Kevin Kanner jam session at the Blue Whale in downtown LA on Monday nights. Check them out!
Blue Whale Bar
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St Ste 301
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Wed, Mar 10th 12:47pm
Whart would I do without Brick of the LAWEEKLY?
Brick's Picks: Saxes Roasting on an Open Fire
By Brick Wahl
There is a great selection of local saxophonists across town this week. Tenor (and occasional soprano) Chuck Manning does a long-awaited night with the John Heard Trio at Charlie O´s on Friday. This should be a highlight, as Heard and crew are one powerful rhythm section and Manning will respond in kind. Then on Saturday, he´s at Vibrato with a quartet; it´s a different room, different vibe, different lineup and different Manning. A little lighter maybe, less aggressive, at least till late in the evening. On Sunday he joins trumpeter Sal Marquez´s quintet at Spazio, and expect good things: These two have been pairing up on stages for years, and Manning brings out the best in Marquez, who, when he´s on, is just a terrific bebopper (not to mention personality). On Wednesday, the classic Chuck Manning Quartet (the bunch you heard on his excellent Notes From the Real) play the Café 322.
Tue, Jan 19th 4:59pm
Happy New Year
Here's hoping that the new decade and 2010 especially is going to be the best ever. It will be for me. See my calendar section for my up-to-date performance schedule. Chuck
Thu, Jul 23rd 4:50pm
Reunion of the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet
It's been quite some time since I have posted any updates. My next CD is postponed until I work out some financial issues. BUT, I am excited about the reunion performance of the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet on August 26 2009 at Spazio in Sherman Oaks California at 9:00PM. That band features Larry Koonse -guitar, Darek Oles- bass, Mark Ferber - drums and me. It's been years since we performed together and it will be a wonderful experience. Thanks- Chuck
Mon, Aug 25th 6:40pm
Heading to Greece
I am heading to play at the Thessaloniki Jazz Festival in a few weeks and I will do some recording with the fabulous Greek musicians there. These musicians are amazing and were killing when we played a few gigs late last year.
"Notes form the Real" is still being featured on the internationally syndicated jazz radio show "Jazz with Bob Parlocha" and he has named the CD on his top 40 new release list for 4 months earlier this year http://www.jazzwithbobparlocha.com/top40/index.html
Wed, May 28th 2:20pm
The reviews keep coming for "Notes from the Real"
New Jersey On-Line
SIMPLY STATED: "Notes from the Real" Chuck Manning (TCB)
-Zan Stewart May 27, 2008
This is an extremely solid, decidedly listenable presentation of jazz classics, standards, and originals by four veteran Los Angeles-based contemporary jazz musicians. Tenorman Chuck Manning, pianist Jim Szilagyi, bassist Isla Eckinger, and drummer Tim Pleasant all score with their thoughtful, deeply musical expositions, which swing with vitality. On "I Didn't Know What Time it Was," taken at a medium up-tempo, Szilagyi reveals his hefty touch and ability to tell welcome stories without needing to flash. Manning, his tone luminous, his ideas attractive, is similar in approach. Eckinger's alluring "The Spritual" grooves along modestly, building heat as it moves -- Manning particularly intense. The composer's solo boasts enticing packages delivered with a big, ringing sound. Manning and Szilagyi's "Byear" is a brisk long-form blues, full of expressive, energized comments. Monk's "Eronel" is also essayed, and Coltrane's "Dear Lord" proves a fine finishing song.
Wed, May 21st 2:17pm
The reviews are in for "Notes from the Real"
Notes From The Real
The Montreaux Jazz Label
By George W. Harris
If your attraction to jazz is the warm sound of a tenor sax, well, brother, this one is for you. Chuck Manning has a sound reminiscent of "Ballads" era John Coltrane, but without the hesitancy. Ebullient, autumnal, his tone envelops each song on this evocative collection of (mostly) standards. Ably and sensitively supported by the trio of Jim Szilagyi, Isla Eckinger and Tim Pleasant, Manning embraces and gives life to chestnuts like "I Didn´t Know What Time It Was". Coltrane´s "Dear Lord" is engaging in it´s coy yet firm grip of the melody. Originals like Eckinger´s "The Spiritual" have an assertive bite that are alluring and attractive. The pianist particularly shines on this piece, as well as the clever rendition of Monk´s "Eronel". This is a disc that will fit you like a warm sweater
Wed, May 14th 2:28pm
LA City Beat:Soothe Me, Baby -By Kirk Silsbee 5/14/08
Tenor saxophonist Chuck Manning has one of the best albums by a local jazz artist – Notes From the Real; he´s at Spazio Sunday. He delivers effortless swing on a well-chosen program (Monk, Alec Wilder, Coltrane, Kenny Barron among others) in the album we knew Chuck had in him.
Sun, Apr 27th 2:36pm
CD Release Party in the press
May issue of LA Jazz Scene
CHUCK MANNING QUARTET
AT GIANNELLI SQUARE
Although a couple of blocks off the beaten path of Tampa Avenue, Giannelli Square of Northridge is not placed where you just might happen to drive by. Located in a light industrial area, once past the plain-Jane frontage, stepping inside reveals perhaps the newest and certainly one of the finest jazz
concert venues in Southern California. It was designed, built, and then operated by John and Rhonda Giannelli, respected jazz musicians that understand the needs of performers and fans. It has high qualities of sound, comfort, ambiance, and warmth, all accomplished in this superb 91-seat room. The Chuck Manning Quartet was featured tonight with Manning presenting an impelling, full-out approach to high-energy tenor sax work. This concert was also a CD release party, with the quartet recreating live the playlist of his new "Notes From The Real." Manning´s enthusiasm was contagious, as the audience responded openly to what he played and how he played it. As the tunes varied, he showed he could easily move from a charged, impassioned line to a tender, melodic resolution and back again. Good stagecraft always adds class to a performance, as shown by Manning
when he consistently took time to address the audience and identify each tune to be played, especially for some not as well known as the others. Also, as headliner, he rightly showed off the other skilled veteran players by giving them opportunities and even stepping to far stage-right to let them be better seen when featured. These other quartet members were Jim Szilagyi (piano), Isla Eckinger (bass), and Tim Pleasant (drums).
Selections included "I Didn´t Know What Time It Was;" "Hey, It´s You I´m Talking To," featuring impressive saxophone gymnastics; "The Spiritual," opened slowly with lovely bowed bass, piano, and drums, before sax came in to pickup the pace; pretty renditions of "Ambrosia," "Here And Now," and "While We´re
Young;" "Byear," originally an impromptu tune originated on the spot that come out so well, it was added to their regular tunes; "Change Partners;" "Bonita
Blues," written by Manning several years ago, with more wonderful bowed bass that Eckinger does so well and with responding drum features, one of the highlights of the program; a Coltrane influenced "Dear Lord;" and "I Believe In You" as a closing encore. Really outstanding musicians, Chuck Manning and his
quartet are driving, original jazz players that deserve your attention.
Topping an already wonderful evening of music and celebration, a buffet was set up with a feast of Mediterranean and Near-Eastern foods that included dolma (stuffed grape leaves),
baba ganoush (egg plant), varieties of hummus, mini-pitas, spanakopita (spinach in filo dough), and other tasty dishes I certainly enjoyed but can´t identify!
What a great evening! .
Tue, Apr 22nd 2:50pm
Review by Scott Yanow
LA Jazz Scene April 2008 issue 247
By Scott Yanow
Notes from the Real (TCB)
Chuck Manning has been a fixture in the Southern California jazz scene for the past 20 years. A versatile tenor-saxophonist with a cool tone and a hard driving style, Manning has finally recorded his first solo CD.
Notes from the Real matches Manning with the valuable if underrated pianist Jim Szilagyi, bassist Isla Eckinger and drummer Tim Pleasant. While Manning´s sound is often been compared to Joe Henderson, the opening "I Didn´t Know What Time It Was" he recalls Warne Marsh while on some of the other performances on this CD he comes closer to early John Coltrane. But in reality, he has a tone and style of his own, being creative within the jazz tradition.
There are many high points to the fine project including Victor Lewis´ complex "Hey, It´s You I´m Talking To," Isla Eckinger´s medium-tempo folk song "The Spiritual," an excellent reading of Thelonious Monk´s "Eronel," and outstanding version of "I Believe In You" (which was originally an early hit for Teri Thornton) and a rare revival of Coltrane´s "Dear Lord".
Actually all ten performances are rewarding. Manning´s solos are both unpredictable and ultimately logical, Szilagyi has a knack for matching and extending the tenor´s ideas and Eckinger and Pleasant are stimulating in support of the lead voices.
Straight-ahead jazz fans will definitely want to pick up a copy of Notes from the Real, Chuck Manning´s long overdue debut as a leader. It is available from www.tcbrecords.com.
Sun, Apr 6th 2:38pm
Review from All Music Guide
A long time veteran of the Los Angeles jazz scene, Chuck Manning's long-awaited first recording as an individual leader (though he co-led a 1991 CD with Isla Eckinger) is an excellent introduction to his playing, for those not familiar with his extensive work with the L.A. Jazz Quartet or as a sideman. Eckinger is also on hand, with the quartet also including pianist Jim Szilagyi and drummer Tim Pleasant. The big-toned tenor saxophonist put together a first-rate set list, drawing from standards and time-tested jazz compositions, along with compelling works by currently active jazz composers. "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" is a potent opener, while the inventive setting of Alec Wilder's sentimental "While We're Young" has a hopeful air. Interpretations of Thelonious Monk's upbeat "Eronel" and John Coltrane's meditative "Dear Lord" flow with plenty of energy. Also enjoyable are the tense post-bop arrangements of Victor Lewis' "Hey, It's You I'm Talking To" and Kenny Barron's lush ballad "Ambrosia." Eckinger's funky "The Spiritual" and the insistent Manning/Szilagyi post-bop collaboration "Byear" round out an impressive session. ~ Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
Fri, Apr 4th 3:14pm
Review in MetroSpirit; Augusta ,Georgia
MetroSpirit Augusta ,Georgia
Issue #19.37 :: 04/09/2008 - 04/15/2008
Chuck Manning "Notes from the Real"
BY RICH MCCRACKEN II
"Notes from the Real"
AUGUSTA, GA - Chuck Manning has been a staple of the Los Angeles jazz scene for the last 25 years. As a top session player with dozens of collaborations in his roster, Manning has set out to release his first solo CD called "Notes from the Real."
This CD has the vibe of famous jazz quartets from the '50s and '60s. As a guru of the tenor saxophone, Manning plays arrangements that perfectly fit his style.
He plays in a quartet: Jim Szilagyi on piano, Isla Eckinger on bass and Tim Pleasant on drums. They provide a CD is full of new jazz ideas that every fan of jazz music will appreciate.
The song called "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" is a fast tempo jazz tune featuring Mannings' tenor saxophone. It has a true jazz vibe.
"I Believe In You" is another fast-paced tempo jazz number. On this one, you can hear the unique ambience the reverb effect gives to Mannings' saxophone. It creates a atmospheric quality. The drums of Pleasant remind me of Elvin Jones on this track and Manning plays more jazz runs on this than on previous tracks. The bass and piano are a one-unit rhythm section.
"B Year" has a complex arrangement that I think Miles Davis would dig. The tempo on this is almost like two bands playing. The timing, arrangement and chord structures are unique.
Hopefully, you will hear this song on NPR and college jazz radio stations because it's a unique and sparkling jazz effort.
Mannings' new CD "Notes from the Real" showcases some fantastic new music and ideas. It's recommended listening for all jazz buffs.
Sat, Mar 22nd 2:53pm
Review in Nashville City Paper
Riffs: Return of global Hart beats
By Ron Wynn
…..It is well-played, first-rate mainstream material, with enough surprises included to keep listeners attentive throughout each piece.
Tenor saxophonist Chuck Manning takes a similar approach on his horn during his spotlight segments on Notes From The Real (TCB).
When interpreting Coltrane´s "Dear Lord" or Monk´s "Eronel," Manning makes no missteps, playing crisp, clean lines in decisive fashion and demonstrating his skills without requiring excessive or unnecessary effects and mannerisms to illustrate the point. He´s just as credible on "I Didn´t Know What Time It Was," "Change Partners" or "I Believe In You," giving listeners both a clear idea of the original work, then creating a smooth and effective personal direction through his solo.
It´s straightforward, though far from detached or formulaic quartet date, as drummer Tim Pleasant, bassist Isla Eckinger and pianist Jim Szilagyi also each have prime moments (Szilagyi is outstanding as the secondary soloist), and what could have just been another routine bit of ballads, standards and blues is instead upbeat and swinging.
Fri, Mar 21st 8:25pm
IN CONCERT : In and out jazz in L.A. - Versatile tenor saxist Chuck Manning makes his Santa Barbara debut
IN CONCERT : In and out jazz in L.A. - Versatile tenor saxist Chuck Manning makes his Santa Barbara debut
By Josef Woodard, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
March 21, 2008 2:09 PM
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Muddy Waters Café, 508 E. Haley St.
Information: 966-9328, www.myspace.com/muddycafesb
Here in Santa Barbara, we've caught wind of the Los Angeles-based tenor saxist Chuck Manning at odd intervals. A few years back, his acclaimed and presently defunct band, the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet, put on a heady fine show at the Goleta Community Center, sponsored by the Santa Barbara Jazz Society. Manning has also played in town with Theo Saunders, the impressive NYC-born pianist-bandleader who spent a few years in Santa Barbara before settling in L.A.
Just last month, Manning held down the challenging sax chair in a MultiCultural Center concert featuring Bobby Bradford's Mo'Tet. In that gig, Manning was able to showcase his distinctive skill in working both the free and structured corners of the jazz ring, moving seamlessly between avant-garde ideas and swing- and bebop-inclined playing.
It will be a different story, and different song list, next Thursday at Muddy Waters, when Manning makes his official Santa Barbara debut under his own name. As part of the "Experimental Music Night" series led by Colter Frazier and Rob Wallace (who will open the show), Manning and company are coming off of a European tour and the release of his first solo CD, "Notes from the Real," on the Swiss TCB-Montreux Jazz label.
In a recent interview, Manning explained that "when I recorded this album, I was in a personal transition and I needed to say something to myself. It was a gift to me. I wanted to play old show tunes such as Frank Loesser's 'I Believe In You' and Irving Berlin's 'Change Partners' because they are not part of the typical jazz quartet repertoire and so they sound fresh but familiar.
"If I, like so many musicians I know, worked out complicated arrangements and have the musicians read music on the band stand, we would miss out on the magic that happens when the eyes are closed and the inner voices are allowed to sing. This approach is what creates a powerful, personal sound."
One can hear the imprint of John Coltrane's influence, and from various stages of the late, great tenor player's work, in Manning's approach -- as with many other tenor players.
"The Coltrane influence is, like the Miles Davis influence, connected to the idea of musical and personal evolution," Manning says. "John Coltrane transformed himself in such a linear way that mirrored the music's history. This is not true anymore. Now, the most important thing is to be true to one's self."
Manning's particular sense of musical self is notable, in part, for his openness to multiple stylistic approaches. In the vernacular, Manning happily moves between "outside" -- i.e. freer and more experimental -- and "inside," traditional playing. The latter persona, working smoothly with chord changes and an easy-going sense of swing, is more on display on his new CD.
Born in Washington State, he began to affirm his musical attitudes when he went to college at the well-known jazz mecca of North Texas State (now called the University of North Texas) in the late '70s. He later moved to Toronto and finally to Los Angeles in the late '80s. But from his Texas days, Manning remembers "at that time, there was still the idea that jazz improvisation had a linear evolution from the early jazz pioneers in the first recordings to the avant-garde and Miles Davis' jazz-rock abstractions of the '70s.
"I studied the full historic lineage of this music and I was receptive to listening to these recordings, trying to hear them without stylistic prejudice. I realized that the musicians of the early 20th century, like Armstrong, were thinking in an 'outside' way and just as radical as (noted avant-garde saxist) Albert Ayler much later.
"What matters to me still is not the style, context, instrumentation of the performance, but the soul, emotion and thought behind it, and I apply the same standard to all types of music as well."
One influential figure has been Bradford, whom he studied with upon moving to Pasadena in 1980, and in whose band Manning has played a key role. The saxist comments "Bobby Bradford music has always had a big impact on my own philosophy of improvisation. Really, the bottom line is, if you hear it, you should play it. And if you are trying to play a preconceived idea such as one based on a harmonic 'theory,' then that will get in the way of the creative process. My philosophy has been that I needed to really understand jazz like a first language so that I am speaking without thinking."
Clearly, things are coming together for Manning at the moment. It can be a challenge for a serious jazz artist to base operations in Los Angeles, as opposed to the jazz base of New York, but he's doing the right things and deserves whatever attention is coming his way.
"I have never been more in touch with my own voice as I am now," Manning says. "I just got back from a tour in Europe to promote my CD; that was very exciting and I got such a great response from the audiences there. I will be going back to do some festivals in late summer and I plan to record another CD this year. This is the most musically healthy period in my life."
Thu, Mar 20th 9:30am
LA Weekly jazz CD review
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 11:00 am
Brick's Picks: Standard Time and Beyond
Notes From the Real ... and the surreal
By Brick Wahl
Chuck Manning throws his album-release bash at Giannelli Square in Northridge this Saturday. Manning´s tenor sound stands out in this town: His faster-tempo solos are fired-up think pieces but with plenty of heart, while his ballad playing really gets to you without pouring on the sap. (He learned a lot from mentor Joe Henderson that way.) Manning´s brilliant Notes From the Real (on TCB) has that big sound, as if the band is in your living room as they wend purposefully through a great choice of tunes. Manning, pianist Jim Szilyagi and bassist Isla Eckinger all contribute originals; the rest are standards, but ones that don´t show up on every other straight-ahead session. Rodgers and Hart´s "I Didn´t Know What Time It Was" kicks it off, Coltrane´s "Dear Lord" closes beautifully, and in between there are things by Monk, Kenny Barron and others, such as an especially great arrangement of Loesser´s "I Believe in You." The interplay is tight, the sidemen´s solos are in the pocket and to the point, and Manning has plenty of space to explore the tunes. It´s a cool room too, and with your cover you get food and drink on the house. See www.giannellisquare.com for details.
Tue, Mar 18th 2:40pm
LES DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU JAZZ French jazz review
Chuck Manning is a saxophonist completely forgotten side with us but quis himself elsewhere in Los Angeles Quartet. Yet all those who have been attentive to the evolution of the scene on the west coast of the past 25 years would not have missed this tenor of the tradition that perpetuates the feeling and whose Lesterien Leonard Feather said himself: "Chuck has a bold rythmic sound and keen sense. " When a boy j'entend like there (I was saying the same thing Grant Stewart) I can only welcome this as saxophonists like him perpetuates this sound that tended to disappear. I can also see myself regrettable, the current uniformity of saxophonists traumatized by the free after which appear with one voice reject any history of this sax. Let us listen constantly to understand Barney Wilen combines a tenor can be simple and beautiful melodies when brought in as much feeling. With Chuck Manning is exactly that it is. Never did it tons, never tries to amaze, never in excess either. But what sensuous phrasing, which class in its way of saying things, what elegance! My mind divague and then I see dream in the late Guy Laffitte that I have unfortunately not known but whose Chuck Manning me closer in its way of playing standards (I did not know what time it was or sublime Change Partners) , in the way to go caress blues (The spiritual - a component of his pianist and accomplice Isa Eckinger) or false airs in its sweet boy (genus dream stepmother) on a waltz very Lesterienne (While we were young) . And what strikes at Chuck Manning beyond its elegance and his innate sense of swing is its rhythmic precision, this way of giving something different to the notes he plays, to give a little more in the freed from his sentences. Sometimes the boy conjures (slightly) Dexter Gordon (Eronel of Monk), and sometimes it's a tribute to Coltrane Dear Lord), which manages to get Manning in the footsteps of the master in a very explicit mention but without losing the continuity of his own game The Americans have a word to describe what type of musician, they say: "soulful." One can not say as much better in some soul musicians. The Chuck Manning is satisfied that we all share together, our common ground, our hyphen irreducible codes and modes: the love of jazz.
Tue, Feb 12th 12:25pm
My new TCB "The Montreux Jazz Label" CD "Notes from the Real" is now released in US/Canada!
My new TCB "The Montreux Jazz Label" CD "Notes from the Real" is now released in US/Canada!
In this week´s Les Dermieres Nouvelles Du Jazz review of "Notes from the Real", Marc Gelin wrote; "The Americans have a word to describe what type of musician Chuck is, they say: "soulful."
Fri, Jan 11th 3:09pm
Metal Jazz.com: Live review
Live review: Chuck Manning Quartet at Café Metropol, January 11.
Chuck Manning enjoys lending the distinctive flutter of his tenor sax to the service of any music he loves. So the relative conservatism of his current path looks like a cyclic tilling of his soil -- not a retreat from his longtime association with the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet, which was sneaky enough to layer its avantish substructures under a beachside cottage veneer. The veneer was a big part of the point, and Manning always found ways to give it texture.
So here was Manning, filling a gap in old pal Rocco Somazzi´s bistro calendar on short notice, and as usual he served up dinner music far above any level you´d expect. For the first set, his working quartet lacked pianist Jim Szilagyi (out on another gig), a situation that provided its own excuse for compare-and-contrast.
Manning has known bassist Isla Eckinger a long time; the Switzerlander´s a natural fit with drummer Tim Pleasant -- both swing like a summer playground. When Szilagyi joined for the second set, instantly focusing the rhythm section with a quick, gentle touch, his hands crowding each other for midrange-centered lightness, it was pretty clear that with this band, Manning was going for support rather than challenge.
A reasonable decision, since Manning constantly challenges himself. He leaped octaves casually on Clifford Brown´s midtempo bopper "Sandu," conjured Sonny Rollins´ virile assurance on "I´ll Remember April." And back-to-back turns on Monk´s jumpy "I Mean You" and languid "´Round Midnight" found him blowing bursts of harmonic condensation and bubbling out fast, subtle tonguing technique. He sounded, actually, like a combination of the main tenor men associated with Monk: the linear invention of Rollins, the slight overblowing touches of John Coltrane, the urbane swing of Charlie Rouse, leaving out only the long machine-gun sprays of Johnny Griffin. But none of those tenorists moved among stylings with such an unusual combination of smoothness and nervous energy. That´s why Chuck Manning is a lone ranger.
The Kenny Barron waltz "Ambrosia" opened the second set with a blissed-out godslurp mood, Manning´s stoned vibrato nearly subliminal. The quartet followed suit with the gin-and-vermouth sleaze of Frank Loesser´s "I Believe in You," with Manning running down feathery arpeggios at microprocessor speed. The lone original was the Manning-Szilagyi tune "The Spiritual," its portentously gloomy Slavonic intro giving way to a Pink Panther-style Big Apple blues; Manning dug deep into the gutter before hitting the sky with multiphonic shrieks, and Eckinger warmed up to a heart-massaging bass solo.
Manning´s got a new album, "Notes From the Real," coming out next month on the Montreux label with the same band. He had to go to Europe to get the record contract, so the least you can do is go to Amazon.
Posted on January 17, 2008 4:32 PM
Thu, Jan 3rd 3:11pm
Review in Open Mag- French CD review
Open Mag´ in France website reviews all CD´s:
He's been side man on dozen of cds, toured with stars world wide, has participated in the adventure of Los Angeles Quartet in million of concerts yet Chuck Manning is not yet written up in the Jazz encyclopedia. There are certain, exceptional saxophonist, who have not wanted to be center stage, but has tranquilly worked the seasons and studios. Chuck Manning lines up with legends. The theme of this current CD of Thelonius Monk ("Eronel") and John Coltrane ("dear lord") while passing by Irving Berlin's standard ("change partners") and by the fabulous "I did not know what time it was" of Rodgers and Hart that begins the CD. His personal composition "Byear" written with Jim Szilagi, proves that this soloist has no fear of accelerating the tempo. If you would like to impress your friends with a tenor saxophonist who brings the house down in the style of Sonny Rollins/Coleman Hawkins, do not look any further, chose this CD.