When you attend a concert of Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, or Oletta Adams, you have a good chance to see bass player Michael Manson in action. He was also a side man of late keyboard legend George Duke. The elemental force of this bass player comes to explosion, when he takes the lead.

This moments are captured on his new double feature live album, which was recorded Thursday, October 28, 2010 at Mayne Stage, 1328 Morse Ave., Chicago, IL. Supported by a great crew of professional musicians, which are listed in the liner notes of this album, this was a festivity of Manson's live work.

The first CD starts with Comin' Right at Ya from his albums Just Feelin' It (2005) and Up Front (2008). After a glorious bombastic intro filled with a horn arrangement by Steve Berry (trombone), Chris Greene (sax), Sam Hankins (trumpet) and Marqueal Jordan (sax) Mike performs the main theme on bass. A wonderful tune on the border line of smooth jazz and funk. On this expanded version Mike has enough space to show his solo qualities.

"This one has some Latin for you, inspired by Salsa lessons, my wife has taken," announce Mike the next song Just One Touch waving his body and grinning. Dancing on stage Mike presents his melodious view of Latin music. Lennard Razor performs a shining keyboard solo, Khari Parker the same on drums. Which gives the overall alluring tune a nice break.

Everlasting Love is Mike's homage to the great Chaka Khan who originally recorded this tune in 1977. The liner notes mention as vocalists Joan Collosa, Andrea Love and Lana Manson. Nevertheless is the bass the carrier of melody. Luther Vandross' There's Nothing Better Than Love grows on this album to an epic interpretation of nearly 12 minutes. This slow jam features vocalists Andrea Love and Joan Colloso in perfect choral harmony. Sure, nothing can compare to Luther's immaculate vocals, but this rendition can reach your heart.

Outer Drive from the albums The Bottom Line (2002) and Up Front is the latest track on the first CD. The live version is performed with more speed and offers a monster sax solo by Chris Greene and Mike's bass solo as a special extra. The party continues on the second CD with Groove With You. This is a catchy dance floor filler with Mike's speedy bass in the lead.

Keys To My Heart is a romantic slow piece with a nice hook featuring Chris Greene on sax. On the third part of the song Mike executes Amazing Graze on the lead bass. On Bill Wither's Lovely Day Mike involved the audience in the performance. Great fun and entertainment with Chicago as choir. The Bottom Line is from his same named debut album with a great guitar solo by Gerey Johnson. On Introductions Mike presents musicians and supporters of the recording.

With Parliament's Mothership Connection Mike brings the Chicago horns back into play. Big fat music. The funk continues with Sly and The Family Stone's Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Can't Get Enough Of That Funky Stuff originally by Kool and The Gang, Fire from The Ohio Players, James Brown's We Gonna Have A Funky Good Time. More funk is impossible. A great selection of an intimate connoisseur.

Michael Manson recorded Thumpin' The Live Album with his the late George Duke in mind. The album is legacy and tribute at the same time. Manson wants to reach Duke's high standards of quality and simultaneously entertain the audience on unforgettable manner. These demands he has lived. 







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Album Information

Title: Thumpin' [Disc 1]
Artist: Michael Manson
Year: 2014
Length: 0:46:18
Genre: General Jazz

01 Comin' Right at Ya [7:19]
02 Just One Touch [8:44]
03 Everlasting Love [8:10]
04 There's Nothing Better Than Love [11:44]
05 Outer Drive [10:21]

Title: Thumpin' [Disc 2]
Artist: Michael Manson
Year: 2014
Length: 0:48:18
Genre: General Jazz

01 Groove With You [5:56]
02 Keys To My Heart [7:16]
03 Lovely Day [11:33]
04 The Bottom Line [4:07]
05 Introductions [4:19]
06 Mothership Connection [3:57]
07 Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) [2:01]
08 Can't Get Enough Of That Funky Stuff [3:43]
09 Fire [1:32]
10 Doin' It To Death (We Gonna Have A Funky Good Time) [2:43]
11 Mothership Connection (Reprise) [1:12]

Further reviews

Up Front

The Bottom Line

Just Feelin' It