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Transcendental Numbers by Terrence McManus - Mark Helias - Gerry Hemingway

Guitarist Terrence McManus' plight is to create a "personalized sonic language." Moreover, he aligned with revered drummer, composer and bandleader Gerry Hemingway for a wide-open sonicscape on the well-received outing, Below the surface of (Auricle, 2010). Amid investigative frameworks with like-minded jazz and improvisation artists, McManus builds and uses his guitar arsenal and is making a name for himself as a stylist who flouts convention.

Recorded at The Stone in New York City with co-leaders, Hemingway and bassist Mark Helias, the trio delves into abstract minimalism and chugs along with the upsurge of a steam engine via unorthodox phrasings and subtle hues. McManus bends and scrapes his strings to elicit numerous effects and slants. He's a sound design artist and ups the ante with rifling single note licks and fractured chord voicings.

The trio often turns up the heat as Helias serves as a fluid anchor and reinforces the foundation with Hemingway who pulls more than just a few tricks out of his bag. Unanticipated surprises are a staple of this inventive set. Some of the movements are designed with loose groove swing pulses, but it's an uncanny exposition where the musicians fuse avant-ethereal passages with off-kilter metrics.

From a conceptual stance, McManus often presents an impressionistic account of modern music. But on "Junction," he injects a series of dour circumstances into the mix, akin to a social breakdown and touches upon funk, the blues and some oddball use of electrical ground noise, intermittently peppered by Hemingway's snappy rim-shots. And he soars upward while seemingly inflicting pain on his guitar during "Products of Primes."

The band tones it down in spots, offset by variable deconstructions that intimate angst and tumult. In sum, McManus possesses the goods to impart a significant impact within many jazz-improvisation based factions. He's an idea man who merges enviable technique with a broad spectrum of nonconformist, and perhaps innovative approaches, yielding a profusion of rewarding factors.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Terrence McManus - Mark Helias - Gerry Hemingway
  • CD Title: Transcendental Numbers
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: NoBusiness Records
  • Musicians: Terrence McManus (guitar), Mark Helias (bass), Gerry Hemingway (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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