The title of this album – Gilmanricks – by Jacám Manricks and Joe Gilman might rhyme with the word ‘tricks’; in fact it rhymes with part of the name of one of its co-conspirators but while there is much inner rhyming in the music, it is all bereft of trickery of any sort. The rhyming and some double entendre between piano and saxophone. None of this ‘double-entendre’, which is born of contrafacts, inversions and other harmonic devices, is awkward but is musically quite gorgeously suggestive in a most delicate way. It does help, of course, that it all takes place in the quietude of the duo; and what a marvellous duo this is.
Jacám Manricks plays his various saxophones in a voice that soars and swoops as if he is ‘singing’ an aria. He plays with languid ease, each melodic variation following the other, quite inexorably, his sumptuous tenor and soprano sound brilliantly caught by this recording. He seems to have found, in Joe Gilman, a perfect bedfellow. There’s a similar wondrous sense; an unhurried quality to the pianism of Joe Gilman. Together, Jacám Manricks and Joe Gilman bring a lived-in character to phrase-making that is utterly engaging and while it might lack the fire and brimstone of youth, it is compensated by the well-hones values of experience.
All of the music – with the exception – of “Rothko” and “Alibis and Lullabies” – features beautifully-crafted and original commentaries on works by other musicians. There is a beguiling variety and sensuousness, in every lovingly caressed phrase of “How Shallow” (and this is just one instance). Other chosen material (such as “Ethereal” based on “Folk Songs”) judiciously focuses on a combination of somewhat lesser-known gems associated with important contemporary composers, such as Egberto Gismonti as well as some all but forgotten writers Joe Henderson (“Intercept” is based on a classic tune “Black Narcissus” by the tenor saxophone legend).
Listening to the way in which Jacám Manricks and Joe Gilman seductively bend the notes in “Ethereal” (a not to “Folk Songs” by Mr Gismonti, with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek, while also referencing Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt), and how the saxophonist and the pianist in this recording sculpt the long, sustained invention of “Intercept (a meditation on Mr Henderson’s “Black Narcissus”) it is clear that there’s not a demisemiquaver that has not been fastidiously considered. Listening to these and other songs here it seems that there is hardly an instance where two musicians are so completely attuned to one another’s vision and artistry.
Track list – 1: Terra Two-Part; 2: Alibis and Lullabies; 3: How Shallow; 4: Ethereal; 5: Slippery; 6: Rothko; 7: Long Ago and Old Fashioned; 8: Inception
Personnel – Jacám Manricks: saxophones and synthesizers; Joe Gilman: piano
Released – 2017
Label – Independent
Runtime – 40:06