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DeMania Trio: DeMania

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Besides being shorthand for acoustic guitarist Alex de Grassi, electric bassist Michael Manring and percussionist Christopher Garcia, De-Mania’s name hints at the nature of this leaderless ensemble and its woven approach to jazz improvisation, world beat and the occasional cross-cultural flashback. Indeed, the trio’s version of the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” rhythmically reconfigured and reverberating with sitar-like overtones produced by de Grassi’s sympitar, sounds as if it were recorded following a Balkan retreat with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Still, anyone familiar with de Grassi’s penchant for alternate tunings and Manring’s signature fretless bass work isn’t likely to be surprised by their close-knit collaborations with the lesser known Garcia on this self-titled debut, even when the trio is busy emphasizing its intercontinental reach and when odd time signatures and a small arsenal of percussion instruments (tabla, kanjira, mbwata, cymbals) come into play.

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