Ethan Mann Trio
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Ethan Mann Trio

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
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"It's All About a Groove"

Jazz, pop, funk, blues—put them all together, and you get It's All About a Groove, by guitarist Ethan Mann. Aided by keyboardist Albert “Chip” Crawford and drummer Greg Bandy. Mann presents a delightful mix of original songs and tributes.
The three musicians started very young. Mann was 14 when he and a friend were hired to play at a bar in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Crawford was 12 when he earned $5 playing on a flatbed truck outside a drive-in movie in Raleigh, North Carolina. And Bandy was 13 when he was called to substitute for a cousin at a music bar in Cleveland, Ohio.
"Foxy" is a swinging, blues tune. Crawford covers the bass line with the keyboards. Mann opens out front with a lively lead. Later, he steps back and lets Crawford take over. Throughout, Bandy stretches out on the kit.
Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life" is played with a samba vibe. Mann scores on several high-speed phrases. Bandy mixes in some fill notes, giving the impression of an additional percussionist.
The trio turns in a favorable rendition of "Betcha By Golly Wow," one of three covers of soulful hits by The Stylistics. With Mann keeping true to the original melody, Crawford sizzles during the middle solo, aided by Bandy's toms. Mann returns with a freely expressive solo before the song reverts to the theme.
After a similar take on "People Make the World Go 'Round," the trio closes out The Stylistics sequence with a fast-paced turn on "Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart." Bandy adds a vocal grind as he recites the story behind "Woman Please," another straightforward blues piece. The song is highlighted by its 3/4 shuffle beat.
Although Mann composed only two of the songs presented on It's All About a Groove, he and his sidemen don't lack for originality. The jazz/blues presentation of the covers—combined with the fact that several songs aren't typical remakes—keeps the session from seeming trite.

Track listing: Foxy; What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life; Betcha By Golly Wow; People Make the World Go 'Round; Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart; Woman Please; Blues for Now; The Look of Love; Minor Steps; Easy Living; You and the Night and the Music.
Personnel: Ethan Mann: guitar; Chip Crawford: keyboards; Greg Bandy: drums.

Woodrow Wilkins
- All About Jazz

"It’s All About a Groove"

It’s All About a Groove is an entertaining new album by New York based guitarist, and Vermont native, Ethan Mann. Mann, who relocated to New York in 1991, currently leads the organ trio featured on this recording, consisting of Chip Crawford, keyboards, and Greg Bandy, drums. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Mann has studied with such jazz guitar luminaries as Rodney Jones and Jack Wilkins, and is currently on faculty at Crestwood Music Education Center and Manna House Workshops in East Harlem. The album starts off with the Gospel tinged “Foxy.” Throughout the tune, and the rest of the album, Mann and Crawford react well to each other, their solos helping to maintain the steady shuffle groove that defines the chart. Another highlight on the album is the Samba treatment given to the classic jazz standard “What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life.” This type of groove might not be expected on a tune like this, but it works very well. Each soloist is right on the money, each taking new and interesting harmonic turns in both the solo lines and the accompaniment. The album features some enjoyable original compositions by the members of the trio, including “Woman Please,” “Blues for Now” and “Minor Steps.” There is a section of music from the book of the Stylistics, “Betcha by Golly Wow,” “People Make The World Go Round” and “Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart,” as well as jazz standards such as “The Look of Love” and “Easy Living.” Mann’s trio work is reminiscent of the idiomatic vibe of the ‘60’s jazzers in both sound and style. His tone is bright and punchy, which contrasts well with Crawford’s rich organ sound. This group interacts on a deep level due to their time spent together on the bandstand, adding another level of interest to the album. Though the drums can be a bit busy at times, the high level of musical energy coming from the trio prevents it from becoming overwhelming.


"Ethan Mann - It's All About A Groove (2010)"

There are some things in this world that at first appear to be encased in mystery, the secrets of which can only be revealed by the "experts" — free-verse poetry, modern art, okra. It turns out that no special knowledge is required to appreciate these things. You've just got to be open to a slight shift in perspective, allowing your concept of "fun" to expand.

This is an attitude that the jazz neophyte needs to be made aware of. Too often the genre is presented as this ultra-technical discipline that can only be fully appreciated and understood after years of study.

Yeah sure...diatonic scales, modes, chord substitutions, polyrhythms — they all describe the music. What they don't do is look into its essence. Can the concept of "groove" be mapped out in this way? Probably. Should it? Can a highly esoteric discussion of rhythms and their relationship to song structures be used to get at why a song with a full-on groove makes you want to get up on the coffee table and wave around the back of your front side? Obviously not!

None of this should imply that the musicians don't know their stuff. Guitarist Ethan Mannand his trio have decades of experience playing with the likes of Patience Higgins, Gary Bartz, Maria Schneider, Javon Jackson, and Pharoah Sanders. Still, all of the name-dropping in the world can't trump this simple fact:Its' All About A Groove will make those body parts wave.

The album starts off right in the pocket with Mann's "Foxy." With the loose-but-tight interplay between Mann and keyboardist Crawford, I'm immediately reminded of the great Wynton Kelly Trio record Smokin' At The Half Note, which featured Wes Montgomery. Not a bad way to get things going. This feel is maintained even during knottier compositions such as Crawford's "Minor Steps." The standout original here is Greg Bandy's "Woman Please." It's a nasty little tune that burns the groove down in a James Blood Ulmer sort of way. Bandy even provides some vocals. When he calls out for "some of that stinkin' organ," you just know you're in the middle of some serious fun.

Mann has made some terrific choices in the covers department with selections from the Stylistics songbook ("People Make The World Go 'Round", "Betcha By Golly Wow," "Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart"), Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life," and a slinky take on the Bacharach/David classic "The Look of Love." The latter tune serves up a great keyboard solo that manages to take things "out" without losing the vibe for a single second.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? It's not press rolls on the snare, or tricky key signature changes, or any of that stuff. Beginners and experts alike should just listen with their body. With grooves this intense, it'll know what to do.

Mark Saleski

"Ethan Mann, It’s All About A Groove (2010 Petunia Records)"

For Ethan Mann, it most definitely and unmistakably is all about a groove – locked in, propulsive, and subtly swinging. The guitarist’s most recent release, It’s All About A Groove, finds Mann working with drummer Greg Bandy and keyboardist Chip Crawford, in a studio version of the same group you might have caught some Saturday night at Jules Bistro in the East Village, NY NY. These jazzmen have over 60 years worth of gigging between them, especially notably Bandy, who’s been ratamaflamming and other drum-type activities since 1964.

From the first note of the opening track, “Foxy,” and hard-swinging midtempo Mann original, it’s clear that these three musicians have also been playing together for some time. Their sense of dynamics and group transition is outstanding, with Bandy demonstrating the clear intention of collaboration with Mann and Crawford, highlighting aspects of their playing without pulling too much attention to the drums. It’s a good opening number, one to get the listener excited about the rest of the show. The Latin-tinged “What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?” a Michael Legrand song, presents some bubbling synthesizer work from Crawford that supports a brisk series of runs from Mann, then bursts out into its own enthusiastic solo. These two numbers, one groovy and the other sleek, present the two musical points that the album moves between.
Next up are a trio of tunes from the Philly soul group The Stylistics, “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “People Make the World Go Round,” and “Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart.” The first is a very sweet rendition of the ballad, and the second finds a surprisingly heavy groove despite its poignant melody, but “Stop, Look, and Listen” is easily the best of the three. Featuring Crawford back on the organ and Mann playing the opening lick in Wes Montgomery parallel octaves, this last Stylistics song gives all three musicians a chance to swing hard, and we are treated to some of Bandy’s best drumming on this track.
Two blues numbers drop down next. “Woman Please,” written and narrated by Bandy, puts forward a bluesy vamp over which the drummer laments being torn between loving his lady and playing his music. What’s a guy to do? Laugh a little at this over-the-top number. The pace picks up greatly with another Mann composition, “Blues For Now,” a blues to be sure, but fast and angular, with one of Crawford’s best solos and Bandy’s earnest efforts to propel the song forward and kick the energy level higher and higher.
Mann’s trio has done well in choosing songs that are a little off the beaten path, and that continues with, “The Look of Love” the Burt Bacharach tune from the James Bond film Casino Royale – the 1966 film, not the 2006 one. Peter Sellers, not Daniel Craig. The agreeable take on this tune makes way for Crawford’s composition, “Minor Steps” (based on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps), which no doubt was a challenge to write and must be a challenge to play. Both Mann and Crawford do the melody justice and navigate their way through the changes ably and emerge unscathed.
As a solo guitarist, Mann plays such a lyrical and beautiful rendition of the Rainger/Robin song, “Easy Living,” one almost wishes he’d recorded a few more of just him alone with his instrument. The second time through the bridge of the song, Mann displays some outstanding movement on the low strings while comping on the upper end. And, closing the album on a high, the band returns to the classic organ trio configuration from the Schwartz/Deitz tune “You And The Night And The Music,” which charges along with plenty of fire and imagination. The closing minute of the last track, in which none of the musicians appear to want to let go of the tune – but ultimately do -- is a rousing show-stopper.
It’s All About A Groove is straightforward, swinging, and presents three thoroughly professional jazzmen in top form. More than most albums, this one will make you feel like you’re sitting in the club on a Saturday night, sipping on the second of your two-drink minimum, soaking up the atmosphere. The night is young, everyone is good-looking and witty, and you have cab fare home. With Ethan Mann and his crew taking care of the music, you’ll definitely want to stay and listen a little longer.
By Mark E Hayes

"It's All About A Groove"

t's All About a Groove is all
about three self-effacing
musicians having a fine time
playing some music that
burns with a cold fire, and
swinging, sometimes with a
fair gusto. Most of all this date is about
uncomplicated, yet attractive improvisation,
as a group that rarely veers far from the
melody, but ventures far enough to create
the right kind of buzz. Ethan Mann is a
guitarist who has a lot to say in a voice that
is uncompromisingly his own. But he
prefers brevity to the filigreed approach,
and makes statements innovatively, but
succinctly. His harmonic conception relies
on depth of color rather than myriad
shades, and with restrained brush strokes
he is able to generate a greater buzz than
expected. His single note approach with
some bent notes and a whisper of tremolo
appears to suit the more heavy hand of
Chip Crawford on the Hammond B3.
Crawford can swing with the best and while
he eschews the virtuoso playing style of
Jimmy Smith and Lonnie Smith, he also
comes from a deeply spiritual background
albeit with a lighter touch, somewhat
reminiscent of Papa Joe DeFrancesco. His
solo on “Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart”
best describes the fluent style, light of
touch and with nuanced expression that
Crawford applies with suave grace
throughout the album. Of course, drummer,
Greg Bandy has the funk and the groove
that is the glue which holds this small unit
together. It is no coincidence, then, that a
phrase from the vocal on his “Woman
Please” comes to characterize the entire
album, as he sings how he came to write
the piece in question. Bandy is an old soul
who plays with fire and a great deal of
dexterity. He plays with the deep sense of
appealing to the rhythm of the saints,
tapping out a swinging litany that
accompanies his urgent prayer and sermon
that he appears to preach in “Woman
It's All About a Groove is one of those rare
records that comes straight from--and
aiming its musical missives straight at--the
heart. This in itself is very rare in a day and
age full of posturing and trying to be
something that one is not. Three cheers for
the blue notes and blue color blues here.
Track Listing: Foxy; What Are You Doing
For The Rest of Your Life; Betcha By Golly
Wow; People Make The World Go 'Round;
Stop, Look, Listen With Your Heart; Woman
Please; Blues for Now; The Look of Love;
Minor Steps; Easy Living; You and the Night
and the Music.
By Raul d'Gama Rose - All About Jazz

"Central Park North"

   "...... has through osmosis, blended the experiences of such notable tutors as Jack Wilkens, Rodney Jones and Jim Hall into a sensitive and sophisticated pallette of compositional and playing skills.
        Central Park North is a collection of mostly originals. It is split between two formats, alternating between the bass work of Bill Moring and Rahn Burton's organ. The recording technique is straightforward, acoustic and clean.
       Ethan alternates between melodies, comping, and improvisational statements. He showcases his deep well of technique but also unselfishly lets his sidemen contribute to the total musical output. The content includes moody pensive ballads, some up tempo bop, as well as organ driven blues.
           Central Park North a refreshing offering from a standout young guitarist and composer."
- Jazz Improv-Ernie Pugliese

"Featured Artist: Ethan Mann"

CD Title: Central Park North
Year: 2000
Record Label: Petunia Records
Style: Straight-Ahead Jazz
Musicians: Ethan Mann (guitar), with Bill Moring (bass), Rahn Burton (organ), Scott Neumann (drums).

Review: Yes, folks…ANOTHER guitar player - but have no fear, Ethan Mann is ok here. The title of the record sets the stage for a Manhattan-feel set, and Mann doesn't disappoint. His tone is warm and sultry like a New York mid-summer/early fall night, and you can really get wrapped up in it like a blanket.
Stylistically around the Jim Hall/Wes ballpark, Mann's approach is bluesy at times, more often he is reminiscent of Grant Green, and his lines are melodic, weaving in and out of the somewhat basic vamps provided by organist Rahn Burton, or the lobbing bass lines courtesy of Bill Mohring. Some of the tunes featuring organ on this record remind me a bit of the Montgomery Brothers trio recordings, both in style and mood.
Some standout tunes on this record where Mann shines stretch are "Study Of Mann", "Reminisce", and even the Mingus fave "Goodbye Porkpie Hat". "Blues For Jimmy Armstrong" is a cool 1-4-5 swinger where Mann gets to really stretch, and you will hear a lot of the legends in him : Ellis, Kessel, Pass and Wes are very strong flavors here, but Mann is by no means copping lines. His tone stays true to the darker, drier sounds of yesterday, while utilizing a lot of melodic flexibility of today.
If you want a cool, mellow, straight-up jazz guitar CD, Mann delivers it - and he stays true to that NYC overtone which has defined so many performing legends before him. - Fred Gerantab


Mann offers subdued electric guitar work in an impressionistic Cool/Bop vein. Lush, pillowy chord voicings hallmark his tasteful playing. - Will York

"Central Park New York: impressionism in jazz"

What brought me to New York? Was it because of the music scene,
the melting pot  of cultures, the swing of Harlem or the attraction of
the Central Park?  I think it was a combination of everything. In
uptown Harlem (135th Street) Timuçin Sahin offered his hospitality.
He is a guitar player who enriches and surprises modern jazz with
his Ottoman sounds and riffs. His apartment became my basis to
explore the New York jazz scene.  

In the Jazz Gallery I got to know the Dan Weiss trio. Dan is a
drummer as well as a tabla player and that he will let you know. He
made an overwhelming impression on me and was able to create the
most exciting rhythms with sticks, brushes and hands. He is rightfully an expressionist in jazz.  

After having visited some other jazz clubs I found the music of Ethan Mann on the web. His
compositions and especially the color of his guitar tone attracted my attention. It brought back
memories of my high school days during the mid seventies. I still know I played the live
record of Jim Hall so often that it turned grey. Especially the pieces ‘The way you look
tonight’ and ‘Scrapple from the apple’. Being young and reckless
I tried to play them with help of a copy of the Real Book. What I
like about Ethan is that he uses the tradition of the jazz standards
to establish impressions from his habitat (Central Park north
adjacent to Harlem) in his own melancholic compositions. The
sound of the performance can be called special and reminds me as
mentioned earlier of Jim Hall. His playing radiates a satisfaction and
a calmness which was so known for the late Barney Kessel.
That is the way Ethan also is as a person as I had the honor to experience on a Sunday
afternoon in the Hungary Pastry Shop (corner Amsterdam and 112th Street). Once Joris Teepe
director of Jazz Studies at the Hanze University (The Netherlands) has invited Ethan to
change his domicile for the Netherlands. Who knows if I can persuade him someday to do a
tour in the Netherlands. Perhaps drummer Steve Altenberg with whom he did some gigs in
New York and now lives in Amsterdam can participate.

Ethan performs as a solo artist and as a sideman and teaches students at a New York school of
music. It has been already nine years since his solo album ‘Central Park North’ was
published. The title track gives an impression of the serenity of the park, its slopes and its
rock gardens. In his more recent work he has grown as can be listened on his live album. The
last piece of that album called ‘Introduction’ is a truly master piece and has a feeling which
can be compared to an evergreen like ‘In a sentimental mood’ of Duke  Ellington. Such a
relaxed and recognizable musical motif and played so laid back. Please get acquainted with
this modest impressionist in jazz!  

May 2008, André Trachsel, writer and  music lover                                          -           ©2008, Trachsel


2010 - Ethan Mann with Chip Crawford & Greg Bandy- It's All About A Groove

2003- Green Market Trio- Reflections- Petunia Records

2000- Ethan Mann- Central Park North- Petunia Records



Like many jazz musicians, the members of this trio all made their individual ways to New York City.
Ethan Mann arrived in early 1991. He began working with veteran New York-based jazzmen like bassist Bob Cunningham, pianist-organist Rahn Burton and saxophonists Jimmy Vass, along with younger players like pianist Matt Ray in clubs such as The 55 Bar, Augie's and Birdland. Chip Crawford came to town in 2001 and landed a job in an organ trio with saxophonist Javon Jackson and drummer Terreon Gully at a club in northern New Jersey. He also worked in Harlem with veteran saxophonist Patience Higgens. Greg Bandy was working in New York by the mid-1970s at The Village Vanguard and other clubs and soon became drummer of choice for first-rate saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Gary Bartz. In mid 2008 Mann had the opportunity to work with Crawford and Bandy at a steady Saturday night gig in the East Village. This long running gig allowed the trio to develop a relaxed and cohesive sound.