Album Review of
Butcher Block Ballet

Written by Robert Silverstein
January 17, 2023 - 12:28am EST
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Chicago-based Blujazz Records strikes gold with Butcher Block Ballet recorded and released by the Jeremy Manasia Trio. Featuring the original music of Jeremy Manasia on piano, backed up by Ugonna Okegwo (bass) and Charles Ruggiero (drums), the 8-cut, 45 minute, all-instrumental CD swings and sizzles in the best possible direction. Piano trio albums can be sparse sounding but Manasia’s piano skills are so sweeping and on-target, the listener is never at a loss for constant ear focus.

Manasia has been a mainstay on the NYC jazz scene for decades so it’s a wonder he’s not better well known. He’s performed worldwide with jazz greats like Eddie Gomez (bass for McCoy Tyner on the 1977 Supertrios album) and Jimmy Cobb (drummer for Miles Davis) as well as being on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

With six albums to his credit, and with his latest album on the esteemed Blujazz label, piano virtuoso Jeremy Manasia is long overdue for further musical recognition and after several attentive spins, it’s clear that Butcher Block Ballet is just the album to bring it all back home.