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Darius Jones : composer, arranger, producer
Recording Produced by Amandine Pras
"The birth of the Man’ish Boy is truly the birth of the love of music."
"The Oversoul Manual is a contoured, formidable, signature work."
"One of the most ambitious albums made in the past decade and certainly the most aspirational in alto saxophonist Darius Jones’ already-impressive catalogue of recordings. And more impressive still, Jones doesn’t play a note on the release yet his musicality—a mix of concept, aesthetic, personality and investigation—is as evident as if it were a solo session. The four vocalists featured as The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit are both instruments and living interpreters of Jones’ complex, simultaneously futuristic and primal work." –Andrey Henkin, The New York City Jazz Record
"By far the most fascinating vocal music on the jazz spectrum this season.
"Emotionally and stylistically intrepid" –Nate Chinen, The New York Times
"Esoteric and enchanting. .. A mystic, ritual piece meant to reflect a
The Oversoul Manual is the long-awaited fourth installment / revelation in Darius Jones’ central, highly acclaimed, and on-going Man’ish Boy epic; it further reveals -- indeed fully features -- the great talents of Jones as composer & arranger, with originality, conceptual richness and deep emotive power to the fore. An a cappella work comprised of 15 pieces performed by his vocal quartet, The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit (featuring the great vocal talents of its devoted members Amirtha Kidambi, Sarah Martin, Jean-Carla Rodea, and Kristin Slipp), it utilizes a heretofore unheard (by Earthlings) sacred language of sound / composition used in the alien birthing ritual of a new being.
The Oversoul Manual is both an elemental / genesis part of Jones’ Mani’sh Boy mythology and a fully illuminated / radical expression of his profound love for the human voice, which remains at the foundation of Darius’ singularly potent creative life. The voice was his first instrument; it was his gateway into music. He grew up singing hymns and duets with his sister as a young boy, later becoming gospel choir director at his church in Virginia as a young man. Darius’ intent with this work was to manifest an experience of great purity, communicative potency, and cleansing joy. And once again, he has succeeded magnificently.
Since the release of Man'sh Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), "one of the great jazz debuts of the past decade" (Britt Robson, eMusic), Jones has been called "a singular talent" (Brian Morton, Jazz Journal), "one of the most impressive and unique voices of our time" (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz), “a magnificently gifted musician" (Peter Margasak, DownBeat), and possessed of "titanic, trail-blazing originality" (John McBeath, The Australian).
On his last album, Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise), critics wrote: "this walks the line between exploration and accessibility that most musicians are afraid — or unable — to touch" (Marc Medwin, Dusted), "he gets into areas that are almost impossible to describe, though the feeling is of a gentle roundness and liquid caress both incredibly pure and powerful" (Clifford Allen, The New York City Jazz Record), and "Jones' playing and composing may have some of the mercurial energy associated with the avant-garde but the communicative immediacy of African-American folk traditions stands like a bedrock in his work" (Kevin LeGendre, Jazzwise). As DownBeat publisher Frank Alkyer wrote in his Editor's Pick review, "He has a big, adventurous plan. He’s telling a story that’s long and involved, but gripping. It's one of the best, most thought-out recordings I've heard this year, and now I can’t wait to hear the next from Darius Jones."
Essential words by Darius Jones, from the libretto:
The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit are the proud mothers of a son called Man’ish Boy. On the planet Or’gen, having a child is done with the spiritual agreement of three or more humanoids, called a Unit. The Oversoul Manual is a sacred text meant to guide a Unit towards the required connection that will manifest their child. For this connection to reach the level of power necessary to create another soul, the Unit must perform these fifteen songs, which gives each mother the opportunity to impart her wisdom, experience, and deepest desires for the child. The act of singing generates an intense spiritual connection that culminates in the creation of a new being. This birthing ritual can take years for some Units. The creation of Man’ish Boy took seven.