Farewell to the Joe Maneri Quartet

Last Wednesday evening I went to Barbes to see the Joe Maneri Quartet. It was an important concert since it was announced as the final one of three concerts being performed at Barbes. The shows were documented for a DVD that will be released in the near future. The performers in the quartet are Joe Maneri (saxophones and clarinet), Mat Maneri (viola), John Lockwood (bass) and Randy Peterson (drums).

The music was really incredible. It was all free improvisation except for the one poem Joe recited in his own created language. The music was exciting and extremely creative. There were times when I didn’t understand what the hell was going on but the emotion and intensity was so great that you just get swept away by the energy. Mat Maneri (Joe’s son), is not only one of my favorite musicians around but probably one of the most creative and powerful musicians I have ever heard. I call him The Magician because everything he plays is magic. There are some musicians that you meet in your life that just blow you away everytime you hear them. Mat is one of those musicians. (I’m extremely excited that he will be playing with Jacob and myself at the 5C Cafe on Friday, May 6th).

If you are unfamiliar with Joe Maneri, he is a microtonal musician and great composer. Joe teaches micro-tonal music and counterpoint at New England Conservatory. I have had the great privilege to perform one of his vocal works at Tonic last year. It was really challenging to try and sing 6 tones within a half step (crazy!) For half my life I thought a half tone was the smallest interval around. As I continued my musical education at university, I realized that I was living in a small fish tank with those thoughts.

I was MELANCHOLY at the thought of this quartet saying goodbye. But it’s never goodbye. Just: we’ll see you again in another form. I’m sure I’ll be hearing this group in other ways some time again.