Sometime last year, I got an email from a dude named Joe Manis, who said he was from Eugene and he wanted me to make a recording with him. He wanted me to play organ. I said to myself," Hmmm. Tenor player named Joe Manis. Never heard of him. Wonder if he's any good?" Well, turns out, Joe Manis is killin! It was a pleasure to make his latest recording, "North By Northwest," which is now available on the Steeplechase label ( which means on itunes, which means you barely have to lift a finger to own it!.) Manis has a big tenor sound, and an aggressive improvisational approach, which is the polar opposite of his unassuming personality. Hopefully, this new recording will make more folks aware of Mr. Manis and his tough young tenor.
GC: What are your earliest memories of music?
JM: I took piano lessons when I was little, but I didn’t stick with it. My dad played clarinet and my mom took piano lessons through high school for both of them. There was always music playing on the stereo at my parents’ business and around the house. They took me to lots of concerts after I started band in elementary school. My parents and my grandma were always very supportive of me playing music even though they weren’t musicians. My dad made me practice, which could have really backfired, but didn’t. I still play my dad’s clarinet.
What's your take on jazz education?