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Manuel Muzzu has a handicap on his right hand that prevents him from being able to move all of his fingers. Well, you would think that is a huge handicap for everyday life never mind playing the bass, right? Not only did he cast the word or thought of being handicap aside, he taught himself to play the bass regardless of the challenges. He is definitely an above average player and he proves it on the 10 tracks on New Stories – Old Hands.
Six years ago, one of my staff members covered Manuel’s first release in 2012 titled The Right Hand’s Miracle. 6 years have passed and Manuel came calling again with a request to review his latest release. So here we are with an eclectic group of tracks to check out and all of them are instrumental.
The fact that they are all instrumental tracks makes the listener even more critical of what they are hearing. There is more focus, and on the bass in particular. What I heard was a literal jazz stew that included smooth jazz, fusion, rock and a hint of the blues here and there. That kind of variety is just my cup of tea. It showcases a talented musician stretching out and spreading his wings across the vast expanse of musical genres that fall under jazz. For my ears jazz offers a wide variety of sub-genres and most are quite appealing, as long as true jazz is the foundation that everything is built from. That is exactly what you get on New Stories – Old Hands.
One of the best examples of a bass being a lead instrument is the track “Project 11.” Manuel bends and persuades those strings to make some gorgeous sounds and at times very powerful. In the first few minutes he just cranks, it sounds like something Jaco Pastorius or Stanley Clarke might produce during some their finest moments. That may be a stretch in some worlds, but as far as I am concerned he pulled out all the stops on that track proving that he is a force to be reckoned with. It just blew me away and it was after I was already totally impressed by what I heard