‘The One’

Jazzman Records 2012

CD/ Vinyl/ Download


1. The One  (11:30)

2. Let God Come First  (7:58)

3. In The Beauty Of Holiness  (6:11)

4. Praise  (7:48)

5. Guiding Light  (7:30)

6. I Will Surely Come Again  (10:45)

Personnel: –

Mamaniji Azanyah – Bass on tracks 1 -6.

Otis Gould – Drums on track 2.

Eric Johnson – Drums on tracks 1,5 and 6.

Kofi Mcdonald – Percussion on tracks 1-6.

Theresa Morton – Vocals on tracks 1,2,3,5 and 6.

Shaka – Guitar on tracks 1,2,4,5 and 6.

Vance Taylor – Piano on tracks 1,3,5 and 6.

Immanuel Zechariah – Tenor and soprano saxophones and flute on tracks 1- 6.

Venerable, virtuous and pious in their musical adoration, Mamaniji Azanyah and Immanuel Zechariah‘s devotional septet (expanded to an octet on this recording) channel the grand tradition of exaltation on their “prophetic rapture” opus, The One.

“Creative Spiritual Expression In The Improvisational Tradition” reads the unfurled banner at live events; a summary description that just about encapsulates their sophisticated, earthy, jazz sound: a sound rooted in both Pan-African influences and the “language of Coltrane and Pharaoh”.

Saved from relative obscurity, The One has been given a lavish re-birth by the erudite London-based Jazzman Records. The original rare 80’s album receives a comprehensive overhaul; restored from master-tapes and pressed onto chunky 180mg vinyl, with a generous offering of compendium linear notes and unpublished photos. Given a near mythical status – thanks in part to its scarcity and $1000 plus price tag on the guarded collectors market – this 52-minute enunciated elegy to God is wholly sincere in its right-on message. The very first words uttered are Biblical and sacrosanct: Theresa Morton, and her unidentified companion, leave the listener in no doubt as to their Christian beliefs, as they read-out the opening mandate of New Testament rhetoric. Soon a wandering smooth pathway of Afro-soul grooves and free-floating jazz gently sweeps in, straight from the atavistic Holy Land expanse; Morton switching from reading out a monologue to plaintive cadence, as her shifting tones fluctuate over the dunes and buried desert.

Rich in musicianship, there is a constant suffused bedrock of bending, pronounced and flexing double-bass; shimmering and glittering percussion; delicately picked, twanged and flickered guitar; emotive wailing and descriptive narrated saxophone and flute; and free-roaming, sagacious majestic piano, all masterfully etched-out with diligent attention to detail, yet loose enough to sound totally at ease and natural.  Central motifs repeat throughout, though each of the six-tracks has a varied set of chord-changes and rhythms, and the closing exodus, ‘I Will Surely Come Again’, stumbles along to a much more organized form of chaos then the rest of the record. Whether effortlessly brooding in an avant-garde flow movement, as on the adumbrate harmonious sermon of the self-titled opener, or launching into a bustling club-lounge progressive, though tight, and seriously-toned World music liturgy; Azanyah produce a fine performance.

With its drifting African imbued vibes and adoration, The One hits a refined balance between Godly indulgence and masterful improvised jazz. Another essential addition from a label that is on a roll at the moment; reissuing and unearthing emotive-packed, spirited classics to an ever-growing appreciative audience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: