Yes, that’s right folks. This week will be my first time hosting two guests during one show, and two heavyweights at that! Anthony Valadez and I will also be joined by Myele Manzanza, who first became known as the drummer for Electric Wire Hustle but who has since stepped out on his own to release the solo album “One” on BBE last summer. The debut NY performance of his Trio will take place at SOB’s Tuesday night. The trio also features U.S. based Kiwi ex-pats Ben Shepherd on bass and Mark de Clive-Lowe on keys and the show will also feature performances by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (violin), Chris Turner (vocals) and DJ sets by my I Love Vinyl family OP! and also DJ Lady DM. (Tickets are only $10 in advance and $12 at the door).
For the last 6 years he has turned heads internationally traveling the globe with New Zealand’s acclaimed modern soul act, Electric Wire Hustle. Last year he stepped out on his own with the worldwide release of his bold debut solo album ‘One’ on BBE and now Myele Manzanza heads to the U.S. for the first time to lead his own musical project, teaming up with a couple of other Kiwi prodigies along the way.
Critically regarded as a fearless drummer, Manzanza was introduced to the language of the drum and traditional African rhythms from an early age. As the son of Congolese master percussionist, Sam Manzanza, Myele’s upbringing was steeped in the tradition of rhythm. As a child he performed on hand drums with his father who was also one of the first Africans to perform traditional African Afrobeat and High Life music in New Zealand but it wasn’t until Myele was 14 that he started playing kit.
Graduating high school with a scholarship to study Jazz performance at the New Zealand School of Music Myele had seen a good chunk of the world from behind the drumkit before the age of 25 and has performed at some of the world’s best and largest festivals.He was also selected as the NZ representative to the Red Bull Music Academy in London, alongside fellow students Katy B, Tokimonsta, B.Bravo and Lunice. This marked a turning point in Manzanza’s career and wielding the acquired knowledge from the tutelage of Flying Lotus, Roots Manuva, Hudson Mohawke, Moodyman, Dr Peter Zinovieff and DJ Zinc set him on a path towards crafting his own solo piece of work which eventually saw the light of day via BBE Records last year.
An album which “deftly draws a line between traditional African music, classic jazz, golden age hip-hop and RnB and the skipping percussive impulses of modern bass music” Myele’s solo debut features an impressive diversity of musicianship and guest musicians including Mark de Clive-Lowe, Ladi6, Mara TK, Rachel Fraser & Bella Kalolo.
To realise this opus in a live format the overzealous Myele now leads two musical projects, one of which will make it’s U.S. debut performances this March. U.S. based Kiwi ex-pats Ben Shepherd on bass and Mark de Clive-Lowe on keys will join Myele to assemble the Myele Manzanza Trio stateside for the first time for four shows in California and New York.
Both Mark and Ben bring a lot to the musical table and have been formative to Myele as a musician. Growing up together in Wellington Ben departed New Zealand to study Jazz at the California Institute of Arts and from there has gone on to hold down bass duties for Lee Ritenour, Sonny Emory, David Archuleta & Ellis Hall. In Myele’s own words “He is quite simply a virtuoso”.
No stranger to U.S. audiences Mark de Clive-Lowe has been a longtime hero turned collaborator of Myele’s. A beast on the keys, Mark was a key proponent in the Broken Beat and Nu Jazz movements and in addition to his own 13 albums, has contributed to over 250 other releases including the tracks ‘Big Space’ and ‘Elvin’s Brew’ on Myele’s album One.
Myele will also be joined by some very esteemed guests during his time in the U.S. For their first show at L.A.’s Blue Whale, the Trio will be accompanied by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and his string group – Quartetto Fantastico. The exceptional musical maestro, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is renowned for his many magnificent works, from his 60-piece orchestra tribute to J Dilla, ‘Suite for Ma Dukes’ to his work with Flying Lotus, Seu Jorge, Hiatus Kaiyote, Leon Ware, Quadron, Jose James, Meshell, Mayer Hawthorne, Austin Peralta, Carlos Niño, Mia Doi Todd, Dwight Trible, Bilal, Common, Mulatu Astatke to name a few. Miguel will also augment the Trio as a featured guest on solo violin as part of their New York performance at SOBs on the 18th of March. Other guests include LA vocalist Nia Andrews, Philadelphia’s Charlie K and New York’s Chris Turner.