Label: Darker Than Wax
Catalog: DTW 055LP
While jazz and funk are at the core of Michele Manzo's musical foundation, the Italian artist deftly draws upon his inspirations in hip-hop, dub, and Brazilian music as both an instrumentalist and producer. But above genres, inimitable grooves are the key driver of his work, and in his grooves one can hear the vibe of a moment being captured and perpetuated for eternity. With this combination of musical depth and raw feeling, it is no surprise Michele has crossed paths with Darker Than Wax, and the label present his new LP All Rise.
All Rise is a genuine reflection of Manzo's art form, which sees so many different styles and influences coming together in the most natural, organic way. Everything was recorded live using bass, synth bass, guitar, old analog keyboards, blended together with modern synths, dub delays and ambient FX -- giving off the familiar warmth of boom bap and progressive stimulation of neo-soul. The pervasive harmonies and clever use of chords give the album a real musical depth, but grounded with an effortless, natural approach to creation. More than just showcasing Michele's musical prowess and mastery of the instrumental, All Rise is also a deeply collaborative effort.
The chemistry with heavyweight collaborators like Georgia Anne Muldrow, Dudley Perkins, Nicholas Ryan Gant, and RayClev is incredible -- they complement his instrumental tapestry with poetic ammo, elevating All Rise to a level of virtuous artistry. The five vocal cuts also offer a sober reflection on the turbulent social climate of 2019 America, and the world at large. Police violence, racism, and growing divisions that dominate the current zeitgeist are examined front and center, most prominently by Dudley Perkins on the title track. Yet. despite such a worrying state of affairs, there is an underlying message of positivity triumphing, and a rallying call to destroy evil at its root rather than be consumed by it. All Rise is about people standing up and uniting, being brought together by a common spirit and emotional music. RIYL: Shafiq Husayn, Fatima, Dam-Funk.