Mat Maneri Pentago

The Miles Davis vibe that Maneri dipped into on his last Thirsty Ear release Sustain has swamped everything on Pentagon. "WWP” busts out everything: sour trombones, gaseous synths, angry vibratos, amped trumpet — the eptiome of Milesian grime. And to make sure you don’t forget where it’s coming from, titles like "Witches Woo” will make the influences obvious. The best modern day reference points for this album are Spring Heel Jack’s freelectro discs also found on Thirsty Ear. Unlike those efforts, Pentagon is never austere — and Maneri has proven he can do austere throughout his career. He’s bobbing and weaving with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey all over the place. More than ever, Taborn sounds like the second coming of Chick Corea on this record, one of the few players still able to come up with original ideas on the Fender Rhodes piano. There is a wonderfully twisted rhythmic sense throughout, so that when beats do appear, they’re static and disappointingly obvious. Pentagon flows too much like a suite to point out the "highlights” but certainly it’s a great journey. The ensemble playing and electronic manipulation of said ensemble draw the listener all the way into Maneri’s universe — he’ll convert a few heads with this. (Thirsty Ear)