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Sarah Manning: House on Eddy Street

In his liner notes for altoist Sarah Manning’s House on Eddy Street (Elflion), Nat Hentoff writes that she “can swing as naturally as she breathes” and refers to the “depth and ease with which she illuminates ballads.” A listen to the recording certainly bears out that assessment, but Manning can also create intriguing, well-crafted instrumental compositions (not really “songs,” as none of these would lend themselves to lyrics), with Wayne Shorter being cited as a compositional influence. Sounding like no one but herself, she possesses a well-focused, slightly edgy tone that suits equally her firmly swinging, uptempo postbop excursions and her highly melodic slow-tempo explorations. For her debut album, Manning was fortunate to have the assistance of excellent, well-seasoned associates. Her charts require a good deal of sensitive interaction and imaginative execution on the part of the performers, and pianist Randy Porter, bassist John Wiitala and drummer Akira Tana are more than up to the task. Trumpet player Mike Olmos joins the group on one track, where he contributes an exciting and inventive solo.

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