by Constance Tucker
As jazz continues its integration of including genres such as R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock and beyond into the mix, a collaboration of members rises to the top and they call their endeavor Manner Effect. Our focus due to our moniker will be vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, but make no mistake this truly is a group offering in all aspects and her band-mates are just as crucial to the group sound as Charles.
Charles has a warm and inviting voice that draws the listener in immediately with her buoyant, clean and crystalline abilities. Charles is a versatile and skilled conveyor of lyric, and her band mates know just the right arrangements to showcase her abilities to their fullest potential. You can always tell when a recording is a group effort and Abundance is clearly a strong vehicle to highlight what Manner Effect has to offer.
There is so much aurally to offer in this recording, but the standouts for me are Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” that was the most effective, powerful and emotive rendition I have heard to date, next to Jackson’s original rendition. Charles owns this cut, and does the lyric and intent justice while taking the song to the next level, what you always hope for when a well-known cover is being presented. Another dramatic and powerful piece is “Abundance” which is also available on youtube.com in a video format and is well worth viewing.
“Passing Time” is a nice play on words with a mixed-meter melody, contrasting the group’s ability to introspectively be effective, while at the same time creating a dramatic textural change in the bridges. The groups chemistry is evident from almost the first notes, and Charles has such distinctive style, that one cannot help but get lost in her artistic merits. This is the next generation of jazz – and thankfully a stellar example for others to take note.
Track Listing: Passing Time; Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly ; Earth Song; Abundance; Hope – Intro; Hope (feat. W.E.S.); Flying; Corcovado; One Snap Decision; Theodore; Longing For; X Marks The Spot; The Way It Was.
Personnel: Sarah Elizabeth Charles: voice; Caleb Curtis: saxophones; flute; Logan Thomas: piano, Fender Rhodes; PJ Roberts: basses, guitars; Josh Davis: drums, percussion.