Jacam Manricks is one of many Young Lions who emerged on the jazz scene in the opening decade of the 21st century. This young jazz educator has played with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, David Liebman, Bob Mintzer, James Morrison, and Dick Oatts, among others. Trigonometry is his second CD, following his self-issued 2009 debut Labyrinth, though he uses a different backing band, including pianist Gary Versace, trombonist Alan Ferber, trumpeter Scott Wendholt, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Obed Calvaire. All but one of the ten tracks are originals, though Manricks has a gift for writing compositions that leave lasting impressions. His somewhat dark "Mood Swing" incorporates overdubbed alto and tenor saxes, with Versace's brooding solo as the centerpiece. The whimsical "Cluster Funk" also utilizes alto in lead with a tenor providing harmony, adding trumpet and trombone for color. "Slippery" keeps twisting away from the expected path, with Manricks' alto engaging in a bit of Eric Dolphy-like dissonance. He salutes Dolphy by interpreting the late multi-reed player's rarely performed "Miss Ann," though omitting the piano, relying on bass and drums alone. He also records new versions of two songs that appeared on his debut CD. "Labyrinth" begins as a free jazz alto solo, with the rhythm section making a delayed entrance, adding a mysterious air. "Micro Gravity" also has a brooding atmosphere, suggesting someone alone mulling a problem in despair. Throughout the session Manricks demonstrates that he is well on his way to developing a personal sound on alto, while Versace's support on piano meshes well with the leader. Jacam Manricks is proof that the old saying "Those who can't, teach" does not apply to jazz educators.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden