One of the infrequent pleasures of ethnic weddings and bar or bat mitzvahs in the era before DJs began contributing to musical unemployment (may God forgive me) was the chance encounter with jazz players hiding out in those bands. I can recall coming across sidemen formerly associated with Fats Navarro, Woody Herman, Thad and Mel, and Cecil Taylor. Musicians call those gigs socials, and play them for the same reason critics write liner notes or press releases: It's a living. As a rule, they bring their jazz expertise to the gig and take little if anything away. Joe Maneri suspended the rule. The saxophonist and clarinetist, who celebrated his 75th birthday with a full house at Tonic on February 9, took to heart the pitch variations in Greek, Israeli, Middle Eastern, and other party musics he mastered in the line of duty, noting their affinity with scalar particularities in the music of West Africa and India as well as jazz, and made his way into the alternate universe... More >>>