Review from Get Into This 10th June 2015

Introducing – Midnight in Manhattan

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Midnight in ManhattanRich in its sultry, evocative and seductive charms, Getintothis’ Paul Higham embraces the sensory delights of Midnight in Manhattan’s Travelogue EP. 

Sometimes music is more than, well, the sum of its parts. It has the power to stir memories, to conjure images and to engage beyond our aural senses. At its best and boldest, it can do all this without any lyrical adornment. Music has the ability to paint a picture and provokes emotions in a way that words are too often unable.

Liverpool songwriter John Jenkins‘ new instrumental project, Midnight in Manhattan, is striking in its confident ambition. His EP, Travelogue, feels not so much a reportage on a trip undertaken but an invitation to share the journey.

Opening song Midnight in Manhattan is a seductively beautiful and measured evocation of Manhattan. From the opening bars you are transported to a late night jazz bar: you can almost feel the sultry warmth, taste the suffocating humidity and smell the ink-blue eye-stinging smoky haze.

That said, perhaps it looks towards a New York that doesn’t really exist, that never existed. It presents a romantic image cultivated perhaps by the representations of the city in film and literature. We’re lazily thinking of the decadence of Gatsby and the hotel bar elegance of Mad Men. It’s the Manhattan you think of when you close your eyes but never come close to realising when you visit.

Perhaps the most interesting composition is the lengthier Travelogue. A journey through a myriad of artistic styles without ever sacrificing the poise and restraint that characterised the opener. Indeed Its melting pot of styles perhaps alludes to a less idealised view of Manhattan, one more grounded in real rather than sought-after experiences. In many ways it seems to represent through music a city of immigrants in which people have successfully forged a distinct identity through collective diversity

The piece brings with it a dollop of mystery as a gentle opening gives way to brooding electronica and an array of percussive delights while the jazz-inflected tones never feel too far away. With its shifting moods, changes in textures and its hints of unexplored exoticism it’s the one to which we’ll most likely return.

Europe is represented through the perfectly realised Parisian café mood music of Promenade before we are shuttled transatlantic with Evenings in Manhattan a gently swinging jazzy number underpinned by a subtle yet persistent beat. It is hopeful, optimistic and full to the brim in eager anticipation.

What separates this from the ordinary is its ability to conjure such vivid imagery and to awaken your senses. It bristles with an ardent humanity, capturing the sound and smells of a city full of life and vitality. It feels like a labour of love: a love of travel, new experiences and a celebration of human integration and music as a unifying force.

Friday 1st May 2015 - Travelogue gets debut airing tonight on PROGBOX at Northern Quarter Radio - Many thanks to Jon Dawson - Sharing the bill with Yes, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind 
John Jenkins, Midnight in Manhattan: Travelogue E.P. E.P. Review.
Published on March 8, 2015 by in Music

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

Manhattan, even the merest taste of it on the tongue is to invite the strangely familiar and yet thoughtfully exotic, especially if of a certain generation or perhaps of a disposition towards the love of the city of New York and its boroughs. It is the thought of the busy, of the cool and aloof, of the sounds, smells and sights of a city that sits so comfortably in the thoughts of many, that to be there is only a film or American television programme away.  It is to be in the city that never sleeps, it is not just a Frank Sinatra song framed in the mind, it is a destination that is just keeps on at you to be within, Midnight in Manhattan, to bathe in moonlight of a 77th Street Jazz serenade is to be live.

For John Jenkins, Midnight in Manhattan: Travelogue E.P. bathing in the thought of the cultural hub of America, is just a step to passing on that thought of getting a taste of life from every available passing person in the street. The densely populated but exiting fumes of another soul and the sheer overload of the sensory; regardless of whether you have been before and sampled the trade, consumerism and sophisticated ethos that seeps out of every brick and reflects back from every window, or whether it remains a fantasy, an elusive shimmering lamb like figure beckoning you to take it all in. John Jenkins gives it all on a plate, a small bounty in which to sample and the taste is wonderful.

The E.P. is a love letter, sent first class and stringed with admiration, the best type, that that has inspired to be more than you were, to come back changed in your outlook; travel broadens the mind, music has the ability to strengthen the resolve and both aspects have the combination of making peace with the soul.

Throughout the four songs that fill the E.P. to bursting point, that sense of the idol, of seeking to be more than people ever believe you to be, is rife and placed with immense satisfaction in the instrumental musings. From the title track, to Travelogue, the beautiful Promenade and the tranquillity on offer in Evening in Manhattan, all is given room to breathe and feel expansion but seen through the eyes of someone not of its shores. For that is the point, the welcome that the bedraggled, the cold, poor and hungry yearning to escape their own tyranny in 19th and 20th Century, remains a dream for many and if you can’t get there, then the only reasonable thing to do is to live it, with every available sound and reflected thought possible.

Midnight in Manhattan: Travelogue E.P isn’t a passing fancy by a writer of prose setting a scene, it is the genuine appreciation for a sound that nestles in the very heart of desire, a beating confession of admiration that sings with every fibre possible.

Midnight in Manhattan-Travelogue E.P. is available as a free download from www.johnjenkinsmusic.com or for £2.99 as a physical copy (Inc P&P) in the U.K.  The E.P is free with any purchase of John Jenkins and That Sure Thing C.D. Intruders.

Ian D. Hall

 
 
 

The Musical Outcast - 22nd April 2015
EP Review: Midnight In Manhattan (John Jenkins) – Travelogue EP


As always I am going to be up front and honest straight from the off here; I am so far out of my comfort zone right now it’s untrue. I am so far off the beaten track I have no idea how I got here. So if you are an expert in this genre and have a serious knowledge about what I’m trying to discuss here forgive my clunky-ness.

In the ‘press pack’ that I received along with this EP this record was described as;

Fuses elements of late night Manhattan jazz clubs, Parisian cafe life, Manhattan Latino, a taste of the Orient where Tangerine Dream meets Mike Oldfield and Electronica meets acoustic

Frankly I am an expert in precisely none of that but I believe that music is a universal langue and that everyone regardless of who they are can talk ‘music’ so here goes.

Travelogue is an instrumental project from Liverpool based songwriter John Jenkins. The EP is broken down into 4 tracks but for all intents and purposes this is also very much one piece of continuous music.

Opening track Midnight In Manhattan is so silky smooth, it carries that classic smooth and sultry jazz sound. This really stems from the trumpet which glides effortlessly over the track. The title of the song fits the sound of it down to the ground. When you close your eyes and press play in your mind you’re immediately strolling down a moonlit Manhattan sidewalk.

Title track Travelogue is however a completely different affair, to start with its 12 minutes long, full of many different phases and fluctuations. The first section has a kind of Asian slant to it but I felt like when the more electronic elements were added the whole thing kind of lost its flow a little bit. It didn’t ruin the song or the record or anything like that by any means but it lost me a bit there for a moment; however when the more traditional Jazz elements returned I was firmly back on board.

Promenade is almost an interlude but even across this short span you can’t escape the unmistakable Parisian flavour. Again the thing that really appeals to me is the songs smoothness, it’s beyond easy listening.

The curtain is brought down on the musical adventure with Evenings In Manhattan. At times the song is only a heartbeat away from becoming a house track but in the end that’s a divide that remains uncrossed. There are strong echoes of the opener and as a result it feels like everything has gone full circle, the song bookends the project really nicely.

I am under no illusions as to the fact that in no shape or form am I the target audience for this EP, however that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it. I love its smoothness and for almost its entirety it carries a sultry enticing nature. I was only lost briefly during the more electronica based sections but those moments were only fleeting.

Travelogue isn’t my bag in the slightest but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate good music when I hear it. Despite momentary lapses the record is smooth, effortless and transports you to a world where everything seems that little bit easier. A musical adventure of the most relaxing order, if Jazz is your thing Travelogue is a trip well worth taking.

Midnight in Manhattan – Travelogue EP
A Musical Journey.

An instrumental music project from Liverpool Songwriter John Jenkins that fuses elements of late night Manhattan Jazz clubs, Parisian Café Life, Manhattan Latino, A taste of the Orient and where Tangerine Dream meets Mike Oldfield and Electronica meets the Acoustic - all in 4 tracks.

Available as a free download
Available for £2.99 as a physical cd including cover (Inc p&p)
Free with any purchase of the “John Jenkins and That Sure Thing” CD “Intruders” (£5.99 Inc P&P)
All from the above website from March 2015

 
Midnight in Manhattan - Travelogue EP
March 2nd 2015 - CD back from printers - Now available to the public 
Feb 24th 2015
Good news - Artwork approved by Discuss group and master copies of recordings on their way to be pressed up -Tracks on Soundcloud and website for free download - Glad these song will soon be out there.