Nick Tateishi: No Audition!

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Manteca: Nick Tateishi

 

Nick is 25 years old – a former student of our sax player Colleen Allen’s, she recommended him. I went to see him play – hired him on the spot. no audition… We love his playful approach, he wouldn’t just find parts he would “cast” his guitar as a character in a Manteca song. He understood that he didn’t have to play all the time… he could be a tourist in the band and go and see the horns – play a line with them, then come back and hang out with the rhythm section…because we never had guitar before, when we work on “re-invention” he does not have to, because his instrument has a clean slate in the band, so if he decides that he wants to approach something with a country sound or an African Highlife sound by it’s very nature it is new to us. We have a lot of great guitar player friends who had spent the last 37 years telling us the only thing wrong with our band was no guitar player, a problem that miraculously they had the solution to.

Nick Tateishi brought such a positive energy to the creation of this new album…. we’re delighted to have Nick with us.

Dolby Atmos Listening

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Manteca: Dolby Atmos

Mission accomplished! Bravo! Really a remarkable experience thank you everyone! This could not have been done with more precision, more craft, more warmth and kindness and more taste.

L to R

Front row: Jeff Wolpert – Engineer, Matt Zimbel – Manteca/ producer / Composer, Anthony Montuno – Dolby Atmos Mixer, Charlie Cooley – Drummer/Manteca

Second row: Colleen Allen – Sax/Flute/Manteca, Doug Wilde – keyboards/Composer/Manteca, Michael Nunan – Dolby Atmos Mixer, Walter Vanafro – Jazz FM Host

Third row: Ben Escobedo, Justin Auld, Doug Spears. All 3 from Sennheiser (Ben is Sennheiser USA, the other 2 gents from Sennheiser Canada)

Far right: Norman Verrall, HHB Canada representing Merging Technologies

Prepping for The Twelfth of Never Show

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manteca-keeper-niagara-sm

 

You might ask, what do you do to prepare for a new show? Excellent question, thanks for asking. Well, the new show is on Thursday, Nov. 10, this week at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, so today our lighting director Duncan MacMillian and I will go through some of the lighting cues he has programmed for the set and discuss projection for a new video we will be rolling into the show. Our front of house audio engineer Tony Crea made some wonderful recordings of the new show when we were touring it this summer and so I will be making notes today for what we should review in this weeks rehearsals. Morosely we call these tapes, “the black box”, as they reveal our mistakes, none of which were fatal on the dates so far.

We will have a special surprise guest for a couple of the tunes and she is diligently working on her parts. There is some touch-up work to do on the physical set today, which I do not want to tell you too much about, as it is also a surprise…Today we need to confirm the band and crew meal, the equipment delivery and pick up and the schedule for our videographer, who will be recording the show. Oh yeah and must do laundry…

See you Thursday at 8 fresh and clean, at least for the first song.

Later Is Now

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Manteca: Later Is Now! (1992)

Later is Now was recorded in 1992 in Montreal at the old Studio Victor, which was the original RCA Victor Studio and one of the oldest recording studios in North America. I remember that we were recording during the day and Quebec rocker Marjo was recording at night. She was a huge star at the time, her releases sold north of 300,000 units. She cooked the meals for her band as did I for Manteca, so every night at 6:30 Marjo and I would meet in the studio kitchen to change shifts. I was always surprised that you could sell 300,000 units per release and not have a caterer. Marjo was lovely. Cooking for our respective band was nurturing and I guess you can hear it in the tracks. This record was released in the U.S. on the jazz label run by the son of Laurence Welk, called Soundwings. This release got us to the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Our wife’s were less excited about us playing the “Playboy” Jazz Festival than we were. Funny that.

Doug Wilde: I’m The Architect, He’s the builder

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Manteca: Doug Wilde

 

Doug Wilde and I have been working together, co-writing, touring, creating shows, leading bands on TV, doing music for film and advertising now for I guess about 40 years. In all that time we have never had a fight. More importantly, I think it would be fair to say that we have always been proud of what we have done. This collaboration has taken us and the music around the world from Australia to Italy to China to the US and throughout Canada. Doug describes our co-writing collaboration as; I’m the architect, he’s the builder. Which is not the case all the time, sometimes he’s the architect and the builder and I’m doing a little light landscaping over the septic.

Writing this album, The Twelfth of Never was a two-year process that began at his house in Toronto listening to what we called “records that changed music”. It was an eclectic mix, Miles (Blue), Moby (Play), Laura Mvula (Can’t Live With This World), Maria Joao, Oregon, Eddie Harris and Les McCann, Elizabeth Sheppard. Baaba Maal, Värttinä, Manni Sandhu & Jelly Manjitpuri. It was a crazy mash up of stuff, in many cases, it might not be entire songs that interested us, it could be just a groove or a background vocal part. The listening mission was to explore. We wanted the Manteca album to be less structured than our previous work, we wanted to “meander” through the charts, not be in such a hurry to get anywhere. We wanted our new guitar player Nick Taiteshi not to just get parts, but to “cast” the guitar as a character in the songs.

Over the years of working together, one of our most bizarre collaborations was when we were asked to audition for the Conan O’Brien show back in the early 90’s. That story, and it is quite a tale of death and resurrection and re-death is told here. Here is the audition which includes Manteca’s Charlie Cooley on Drums, the remarkable Neil Chapman on Guitar, Collin Barrett on Bass, Phil Dwyer on Sax, Dave Dunlop on Trumpet, Gord Myers on Bone, Doug on keys and me on percs.

 

Extra Extra: Our 1992 Album

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Manteca: Extra Extra - 1992

According to iTunes, as I would never remember something like this, Extra Extra came out on July 6, 1992. The tune Extra Extra is classic Aaron Davis, lots of call and response, a deep, heavily layered syncopated groove, an acoustic piano breakdown, lots of shots… , a lighting director’s dream. Art solo’s on this and kills it as usual. We opened the show with this tune for years. A great opening for Jazz Pyro…yes, I know you may not be familiar with that term. The voice in the role of the “paper boy” in the soundscape at the top of the tune is my eldest son Oliver. Which means both my sons have appeared on Manteca recordings as my youngest, played accordion on the Mensa Disco record. The Extra Extra release is mostly a compilation of the previous five recordings, but the other new tune on this disc was written by Rick Tait and is Beau Soleil en Soleil, which is a joyous Zydeco meets Manteca thing. Johnny Johnson rips up the ending on alto.

Pope of The Lower Octaves: Will Jarvis

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Manteca: Will Jarvis

 

In 37 years only three people have sat in the bass chair. No, wait a minute, no one “sits” in a bass chair in Manteca, if the groove don’t move the “bass person” (note gender neutral) Houston we have a problem. Henry Heillig, was the founding bassist (sounds like founding father, not gender neutral, but I’m in Charlottetown today hence the reference), in 2012, after 34 years of dedicated service Henry took the massive buyout option to concentrate on his awesome band the Heillig Manoeuvre. His last album is a gem among many great releases, and you can find it here.

Pat McBride followed Henry for the Monday Night at the Mensa Disco record and he burned it up! I was always happy to have Pat in the band for his playing and sense of humour but also because he came from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Our drummer, Charlie Cooley comes from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I don’t know how much you know about the centuries of ethnic fighting between Haligonians and the Dartmouthians, a people separated only by a bridge, but it is fierce, ugly and tragic. To unify these two guys in the same rhythm section, despite years of sectarian violence, I thought positioned Manteca very well for a prize, no, not the Juno, the Nobel Peace Prize…yeah, whatever! Bob Dylan.

Pat and Charlie got along great and my next assignment is to fix the Middle East, but Pat had too many things on the go and eventually the band was summoned to the secret hall where we have a ritual similar to the Papal Enclave and after 30 seconds of discussion, the white smoke was emitted and the adoring crowds were introduced to the new Pope of the lower octaves, Will Jarvis.

Now Will has played with everyone from Steve Gadd to Tito Puente so we were mighty happy to get him. We sent him charts and tracks so he could get up to speed on the Manteca book, which as you know is very simple, nothin’ to it really. He shows up for the first day of rehearsal, sets up the amp, sets up the pedals, tunes the basses but no music stand and no music.

“Hey Will, did you bring your charts?”

“Nope, don’t need ‘em, memorized it.”

“Okay then”.

So then we’re all asking him questions about the form of the new tunes…on his first day of rehearsal…”do we repeat A before we take the coda, I forgot?”

Keener!

Will has been a joy to have in the band on so many levels and has just released his first solo recording a superb CD called, Con Gracious, which has received critical acclaim and a remarkable audience response.

Perfect Foot

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This was Manteca's 6th album and it’s title comes from a wonderful tune written by the late great Rick Tait. The title comes from Rick observing the wonderful artist musician Mendelson Joe in performance. Mr. Joe, who is a dear friend of the band and writes to us with his very articulate opinions on many matters, stomps his foot when he plays. Look he doesn’t tap his foot he freakin’ stomps got that? Observing this led Rick to think; “some people have perfect pitch, some people have perfect time, some people have perfect foot.” I think of the song Perfect Foot as what I call a “heavy metal hoe down”. It is a song that has stood the test of time, as a testament to that, it is the song that fills that most coveted spot in this year’s show line up… in the case of that cultural emergency better known as an encore we play Perfect Foot. Rick, this one’s for you brother, we miss you everyday.

 

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