As the name suggests, the album (pictured) is a followup to Manley's previous release Brass Poison, and features a similar instrumental lineup, with Manley on trumpet, flugelhorn and valve trombone plus a ten-piece band, playing new arrangements of some familiar material plus three of Manley's original compositions. "I think the tunes, playing, arrangements and production on this CD exceeds anything I have done," said Manley, who previously has released nine other CDs as a leader.
Among the thirteen tracks are new arrangements of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a La Turk," Tom Scott's "King Cobra," Eddie Harris' "Listen Here" and the Beatles' "Michelle." There's also a version of "L-Dopa," a piece made famous by one of Manley's musical heroes and mentors, Maynard Ferguson, whose 1970s and 1980s albums with big-band versions of pop and rock tunes clearly helped inspire the project and its predecessor.
At first listen, Brass Poison Too definitely has a similar vibe to its older sibling, with solid playing by all hands and slick production values. Fans of the 1970s sounds of Ferguson and fellow trumpeter/bandleader Don Ellis, and of more contemporary groups like Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, should find plenty to enjoy.
In addition to the leader, the band includes Frank Goessler, Dan Smith, Greg Grooms and Chris Miller (trumpets); Jason Swagler, Larry Johnson, Joe Bayer, and Aaron Leady (saxophones); Jim Owens (trombone and keyboards); Brett Voelker (drums); Mark Torlina (bass); and Tony Esterly (guitar), with pianist Carolbeth True as special guest on "Blue Rondo A La Turk. "
Released by the local indie label Victoria Records, Brass Poison Too is available now as a download from iTunes; physical CDs will be available starting sometime in January from the label's website, Manley's site and select online retailers.