Exposé Online banner

The Microscopic Septet — Manhattan Moonrise
(Cuneiform Rune 370, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-09-27

Manhattan Moonrise Cover art

For all our obsession with music as art, we sometimes forget that it is, at the most basic level, entertainment. Sure, life without music would suck, but you wouldn't actually die without it. Unless you went crazy and killed yourself... But all such speculation aside, there's no reason music can't be both fun and artistically satisfying, both engaging to the mind and bringing a smile to the face. The Microscopic Septet fits in here, with music that could be reasonably described as jazz that mostly takes after the pre-bop era, before jazz split so decisively from pop music. Not that they're totally stuck in the past either — the playing is all fresh, and the solos venture outside swing-era sweetness, though not so far as squawking. Melody and groove are the watchwords, and the arrangements for multiple saxes are all tasty and impeccably executed, with a balance of harmonies and polyphonic lines to keep it interesting. There are some elements of 60s soul-jazz as well, as on "Obeying the Chemicals," which infuses a boogie-woogie rhythm with a cool, slinky vibe. The result is a kind of music-out-of-time that can as easily appeal to young listeners, their parents, or their grandparents. It's jazz made both accessible and brainy, worthy of both toe-tapping and close analysis. Bravo, guys! Thanks for a little sunshine in a world full of trouble.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): The Microscopic Septet

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sangiuliano - Take Off – An amazing album from 1978. Tony Sangiuliano was a one man keyboard show, assisted only by a drummer and female soprano; he could well be thought of as Italy's answer to Heaven and Hell period...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues