Album: Sam Wilkes & Jacob Mann – Perform the Compositions of Sam Wilkes & Jacob Mann

‘Perform the Compositions of Sam Wilkes & Jacob Mann’ is the succinctly titled new full-length project from Sam Wilkes and Jacob Mann released via the eclectic LA-based label, Leaving Records.

When considering the amount of each others’ projects that these two long-time friends and collaborators have contributed towards over the years, the release of ‘Compositions’ would serve as a real treat for listeners who have become enamoured with their celebration of an all-encompassing and genre fluid LA aesthetic.

For both artists, however, the concept of collaboration has served as a prominent component to each of their respective catalogues. For bassist and composer Sam Wilkes, his extensive list of releases through Leaving Records has positioned him alongside some great artists ranging from his collaborative albums with saxophonist Sam Gendel to acting as a band leader for collectives including Greg Paul, Christian Euman and, of course, Jacob Mann. Beyond his own releases, Wilkes’ indelible and in-demand touch has further graced projects from a dynamic line-up of revered and diverse contemporaries including Rejoicer, Kiefer, Knower and Scary Pockets further demonstrating the bassist’s boundless versatility.

Jacob Mann has long proved himself an incredibly creative musician. With his releases to date serving as explorative musical concepts like the solo beat tape-styled ‘106’ to releases from the opposite end of the scale like the ongoing Jacob Mann Big Band project which sees the pianist performing alongside an epic line-up of artists including all members of Moonchild, trombonist Jonah Levine, drummer Louis Cole and Sam Wilkes. With an exciting take on contemporary jazz, the prospect of a full-length release between these two LA-based luminaries makes for a tantalising blank canvas filled with limitless potential and possibilities.

‘Compositions’ provides thirteen original compositions presented exclusively by the two-man show of Wilkes and Mann. The album kicks off nicely with the elegant bounce of ‘The Cricket Club’ before flowing into the synth-heavy bliss of ‘Jakarta’. The music throughout is beautifully understated but uniquely intricate at the same time with compositions indicative of both artists’ immeasurable talents and vision. ‘Homeric’, as the album’s mid-way point, ushers in a series of ambient and sublime pieces by way of ‘Soft Landing’, ‘Warm Regards’ and ‘Pre-Board’ which are just magic and reflective of a very expansive LA-rooted sound.

‘Compositions’ excels over repeated listens further revealing the multi-layered and multi-faceted nature of this release. When considering the range of projects that Mann and Wilkes have appeared in together, ‘Compositions’ serves as a lush testament to those years of collaboration and friendship – hopefully the first joint release of more to come.

Imran Mirza

I love discovering something I've never heard before and sharing that feeling with like-minded people who embrace the music in the same way. You're welcome to join me on more of my musical misadventures on Blue-in-Green:RADIO.

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