April 2000

Mat Maneri
Fifty-One Sorrows
Leo Records

Maneri, Schuller and Peterson have been working together off and on for years and it shows in their tight interplay on Fifty-One Sorrows, during which the line between soloist and accompanist is blurred. All are impressive individually and the balance they attain is also praiseworthy. They leave each other breathing room and Peterson, one of the great jazz drummers to emerge in the past couple of decades. Peterson exhibits an outstanding sense of form and composition, and he consistently gives stimulating and appropriate reactions to what the others are doing. On "Ph Level" Peterson lays out while Schuller and Maneri play an exciting arco duet, and an outstanding example of Schuller's pizzicato work occurs on the title tune. Schuller plays economically on the CD, seemingly thinking from note to note rather than phrase to phrase. Aside from two versions of Ornette Coleman's "Tone Dialing," all of the compositions on Fifty-One Sorrows are by Mat, who doesn't base them on chord structures, but often writes out their bass lines.

Originally published in April 2000

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