Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Phillip Manuel: Love Happened to Me

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Phillip Manuel teams up with a top-flight New Orleans crew for the vocalist’s MAXJAZZ debut. While the material ranges from interpretations of pop numbers like Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and Sting’s “Fragile” to the standards of “‘Round Midnight” and “These Foolish Things,” Manuel presents it in a classic, straight-on style. The singer, whose touring work with trumpeter Terence Blanchard brought him national attention, has an abundance of chops that he uses tastefully.

On “Only All of Me Will Do,” an original number by Manuel and producer Michael Pellera, a natural warmth fills his falsetto as he becomes one in the mix of instruments. The compositions by the Manuel/Pellera team, which matches the leader’s smart lyrics and Pellera’s strong melodic flair, produce some of the album’s best moments. Manuel shows off his scatting on the duo’s “In the Zone,” on which Peter Martin moves from piano to organ, then gets in the groove with guitarist Steve Masakowski.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.