Manhattan Moonrise – The Microscopic Septet
In 2006, after fourteen years spent in the wilderness, the Microscopic Septet bounded back onto the stage to coincide with the re-release of several of their albums. For years regarded as one of the most important and distinctive bands to come out of the New York scene of the 1980s, they entertained audiences with their combination of swing, energy and humor, which Downbeat described as ‘seminal, brilliant post-modern jazz.’
Innovation and experiment has been at the heart of ‘the Micros’ music since the beginning, so is it really a surprise that their new album comes to us via the increasingly popular avenue of crowd-sourcing? Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the Microscopic Quartet are releasing their first album of original compositions in 25 years: Manhattan Moonrise.
Manhattan Moonrise touches on the band’s entire three and half decade history, with several previously unrecorded tunes from the Micros’ early years, like Forrester’s lushly orchestrated “No Time,” which sounds like a catchy back page from Cedar Walton’s songbook. Johnston’s brief but scorching “Obeying The Chemicals” is another early piece, a deliciously telegraphic booting barrelhouse romp. And then there’s the new work, like Forrester’s episodic Beethoven-inflected closer “Occupy Your Life.”