Angles of Repose

Joe Maneri, Barre Phillips, Mat Maneri

CD18,90 out of print

The new impulses that the father-and-son team of Joe and Mat Maneri have brought to experimental jazz are increasingly acknowledged by their fellow musicians as amongst the most important developments in contemporary free playing. The Maneris’ improvised chamber music, as radical as it is graceful, brings the yearning passions of jazz and blues together with lessons learned from Schoenberg, microtonalism, and a dozen world music traditions. No other improviser has entered the Maneris’ idiosyncratic universe as persuasively as the great bassist Barre Phillips. Since their debut trio recording “Tales of Rohnlief”, Maneri/Phillips/Maneri have toured on both sides of the Atlantic, further refining their group understanding. “Angles of Repose”, co-produced by Phillips, captures the trio inside the ancient French chapel of Ste. Philomène, responding to the charged resonance of the church as well as to each other.

Featured Artists Recorded

May 2002, Chapelle Sainte Philomène, Puget-Ville

Original Release Date


  • 1Number One
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 2Number Two
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 3Number Three
    (Joe Maneri)
  • 4Number Four
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 5Number Five
    (Barre Phillips, Mat Maneri)
  • 6Number Six
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 7Number Seven
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 8Number Eight
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 9Number Nine
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
  • 10Number Ten
    (Barre Phillips, Joe Maneri, Mat Maneri)
Joe Maneri, the eccentric, free-improvising saxophonist and pianist continues his long partnership with his son, Mat, a violinist. It’s a relationship that has been deepened by the duo’s collaborations with that great American double-bass player, Barre Phillips. Phillips’ technique and ear allow him to adapt readily to the Maneris’ fondness for lurking in the dangerous territories between the notes in the traditional western scale. Mat Maneri often plays an electric violin, and is frequently tumultuously energetic with it, but he restricts himself to viola on this session, and the set is entirely acoustic. …
A conversation between uncompromising equals, full of demanding but absorbing detail.
The Guardian
Even the most organic music, in the hands of certain players, can take on a completely other-worldly tinge; somehow managing to feel both rooted in reality yet evocative of alien vistas. Reedman Joe Maneri has been exercising that neck of the woods over a fifty-year career that has seen him emerge as one of the progenitors of modern creative music. … There is much to appreciate in a group of improvisers who daringly mix a more extemporaneous nature with a style that emerges more directly from contemporary classical work. Angles of Repose represents one such ensemble; if you can put aside preconceptions, and open up to music as something more textural, more timbral, something to be felt as much as heard, then you’re most of the way there. …The exceptional dynamics and ambiences, which range from dense to spacious, make Angles of Repose a captivating listen for those who like their music to be free of boundaries and prepossession.
John Kelman, Jazz Views
Diese Musik betritt man wie eine fremde Kirche, einen unbekannten Raum, als biege man in eine nie gesehene Straße ein – der Klang im Kopf verändert sich schlagartig. Da gibt es kein Thema, nur verhauchte Saxofontöne, eine Bratsche grundiert, ein Bass zieht Linien, das Saxofon bricht kurz in Eruptionen aus, traumhafte Extase, wie durch einen Schleier gehört. Ein leichter, angenehmer Schwindel erfasst einen, von mikrotonalen Verschiebungen verursacht, die Töne liegen daneben, „ein bisschen daneben“, wie deren Schöpfer, der 77-jährige Meistersaxofonist Joe Maneri sagt. ...
Der helle Klang kommt aus dem Nichts, ein Tonfall, ein Tempo, die Klanglinien verzahnen sich, die zehn Stücke tragen keine Titel, die Haltung ist da Thema – Angles Of Repose. Joe Maneri spielt falsch, wie Picassos Perspektiven falsch sind, Gertrude Steins Sätze oder Andy Warhols Kameraeinstellungen. ... Dass seine Vorbilder Saxofonisten wie Coleman Hawkins oder Charlie Parker sind, dass er manchmal an den Free-Jazz-Hymniker Albert Ayler erinnert, gehört zum Wundersamen dieser Musik, die das Gefühl des Jazz trägt und die Gewissheit, dass dies nicht Jazz ist.
Konrad Heidkamp, Die Zeit
Angles of Repose ist der vorläufige Höhepunkt in einem kammermusikalischen Gesamtwerk, das europäische Kunstmusik des 20. Jahrhunderts mit der freien Improvisation vereinigt – mit einer Leidenschaft und einer Abenteuerlust, die erstaunen muss. ... Es herrscht ein Höchstmaß an Interaktion und Kommunikation mit den Mitmusikern, die Joe Maneris Vorlagen dankbar aufnehmen und weitergeben. Auf Angles of Repose kommen drei unterschiedliche Schulen zusammen, Joe Maneri, der alte Zauberer, der jenseits jeglicher Traditionen zu Hause ist, Barre Phillips, dem nichts fremd ist in der Welt des Jazz, weil er im Lauf der vergangenen 40 Jahre mit Gott und der Welt gespielt und Maneri Junior, der irgendwann einmal vielleicht das fortsetzen wird, was hier begonnen wird.
Albert Koch, Musikexpress
Bassist Barre Phillips was first introduced to the father and son team of Joe and Mat Maneri on the ECM production project “Tales of Rohnlief” in 1998, and the collaboration left all participants with a keen determination to take the work further. Phillips was fascinated by the Maneris’ uniquely idiosyncratic approach to music-making, and the Maneris, from their side, felt that no other improviser had made such a strong contribution to their sound-world. It is not the easiest world for another player to enter, not least because Joe and Mat often (but not always) phrase their jazz microtonally, lingering in the cracks of the chromatic scale, and their very personal concept of ‘free music’ – developed over almost 20 years - has little to do with the European free improvisational norm, if such a thing can be said to exist. Their emotionally expressive music, while as soulful as the blues, is also the sum total of experiences that have included involvement in the widest range of musics – from contemporary classical music to half a dozen so-called ‘ethnic’ forms. Add to this the fact that both Maneris think structurally when they improvise and the challenge for an ‘outsider’ becomes formidable. Barre Phillips’ own wide-ranging background gave him the necessary tools to meet that challenge.

After the “Rohnlief” session, Joe and Mat Maneri invited Barre Phillips to join them for subsequent American touring, and Phillips (California-born and French-based since the early 70s) found work for the trio in Europe. At the end of a French-German-Austrian tour in 2002, the trio headed for the south of France and recorded in the ancient chapel of Sainte Philomène, which adjoins Phillips’ home in Puget-Ville. The session – taped by engineer Gérard de Haro (who has documented almost all of Louis Sclavis’ ECM recordings) – found the trio joined by a small audience on the last day; two tracks on “Angles” are from the live setting. For the most part, however, they were alone, responding to each other and to the charged silence and compact resonance of the church.

Where, on“Tales of Rohnlief”, Mat Maneri was playing his customized solid-body electric violins, “Angles of Repose” is all acoustic. Here Mat plays only viola, which greatly affects the group dynamics. He elicits an extraordinary variety of tones and timbres from the viola, and makes the most of its ‘vocal’ capacity (it’s often considered the string instrument closest to the human voice) in the discursive exchanges with Joe and in the cries and exultations which, with those of his partners, define what Barre calls “the striving, reaching-out quality” of the music.

“Listening back to the session, “ says Barre Phillips, who is also the album’s co-producer. “I was struck by the way in which the material divided itself into two tributaries – the music of peaceful repose or serenity, and the music of intense yearning, striving and longing to get to this other place. Coltrane’s late music had this same aching quality.”