With his nine previous albums, saxophonist Jacám Manricks established his bona fides as a composer, arranger, and improviser of the highest order. A multi-instrumental master, he spent more than a decade in New York City collaborating and recording with definitive 21st-century players such as drummers Tyshawn Sorey, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Matt Wilson, guitarists Ben Monder and Adam Rogers, pianists Gary Versace and Kevin Hays, and bassists Thomas Morgan and Joe Martin.
Born in Australia in 1976, Jacám Manricks hails from a distinguished musical family with global reach. His parents played in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in his hometown of Brisbane, and his paternal grandparents were also accomplished musicians.
After earning a degree in classical and jazz saxophone and honing his skills on multiple woodwinds, Manricks started working steadily in pit bands and orchestras while also forging close ties with the top jazz players in Sydney. The great Sydney-based Kiwi pianist Mike Nock, a founding member of the pioneering Bay Area fusion band The Fourth Way with violinist Michael White, drummer Eddie Marshall, and bassist Ron McClure, became an important mentor. A study grant paved the way for Manricks to move to New York City to study at William Paterson University’s vaunted jazz program.
After attaining a Master’s in Composition, he went on to earn a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Arts from the Manhattan School of Music in 2007, a program that allowed him to pursue his love of classical music as well as cutting-edge jazz. He manifested his growing confidence in combining both traditions on 2009’s Labyrinth ,a critically hailed project focusing on a diverse collection of Manricks originals that featured his settings for a chamber orchestra and a state-of-the-art quintet with guitarist Ben Monder, pianist Jacob Sacks, bassist Thomas Morgan, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey.
Manricks followed up with 2010’s Trigonometry, another stellar program of originals (and a blazing version of Eric Dolphy’s “Miss Ann”) with pianist Gary Versace, bassist Joe Martin, drummer Obed Calvaire, trombonist Alan Ferber, and trumpeter Scott Wendholt. It was the first of two excellent releases for the adventurous Posi-Tone label, with the subsequent album further establishing Manricks as an essential voice on the contemporary scene.
Focusing on the alto sax on 2012’s Cloud Nine, he arranged a set of original tunes (and Jobim’s
ineffable melody “Luiza”) for a supremely flexible and texturally acute quartet with guitarist Adam Rogers, drummer Matt Wilson, and organist Sam Yahel. While the title of his next release, Chamber Jazz, suggests the kind of expanded arrangements he explores on Samadhi, the 2016 album featuring Kevin Hays on piano and Fender Rhodes, bassist Gianluca Renzi, and drummer Ari Hoenig refers to the contrapuntal compositional forms more than instrumentation (though several tracks do include overdubbed orchestrations).
Always looking for opportunities to work with similarly adventurous peers.