The release of Khan Manuel’s first album has been a long time in coming, but guitar aficionados, a growing army of loyal fans, and music lover’s alike, will, I am confident, find the wait well worth it.
In “ The Knight”, we have an instrumental album with something for everyone…. an album forged, lovingly crafted, and hewn from well over 15 years of ‘doing the hard yards’.
Surprises abound in this offering with everything from sound effects, live performances, audience participation, some truly dazzling guitar solos, harmonic changes calculated to melt your heart, and with some delightfully subtle tempo changes which frankly, somehow sneak under your guard. Most strikingly however, is the exquisite execution, with even the fastest runs delivered with a wonderful cleanliness. [Young up and comer’s_____ please take note!]
Versatility is an essential ingredient in any instrumental collection, and once again this deceptively talented performer delivers the goods with a notable diversity that encompasses everything from well thought-out titles, compositional skills, to all-round musicianship, and all wrapped up in a refreshingly well-developed style. So whether your looking for something to blast you down the highway, or perhaps enhance your private ponderings in front of a cosy fireplace, the ‘Knight’ delivers both boldness and chivalry in equal measure.
Prominent Aussie guitarist Khan Manuel, looks set to broaden his appeal beyond the select but devoted local audiences who he has quietly dazzled in recent years. With a guitar style that blends an advanced technical fluidity with a splendid versatility that defies his youthful years, his repertoire extends comfortably from slow blues-licks that will devastate your life, right through to both jazz and classical interpretations. The usual suspects of Satriani, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray-Vaughan, Gary Moore, Larry Carlton and George Benson to name but a few, fall effortlessly within the boundaries of this talented musician.
Initially self-taught Khan went on to attend his local music institute first as a student and then as a teacher. Playing in the appropriately named metal band Lithium at the slightly tender age of 13, he recalls, having heaps of fun even though we were out of time. From there, he played in the covers band, Felix Far Cry gaining a wealth of experience along the way. In 1998 he entered and won a Hometown Hero guitar contest sponsored by Ibanez Australia, commenting at the time ‘I actually think my mate should have won’!. It was at about this time that he met close friend and teacher Martyn Simonsen. ‘Marty and I would play till the early hours most nights’.
In 2002 Khan met the widely respected Mick Kenny, co founder of Australian Fusion band Crossfire. It was while playing along side Mick at his resident venue that he was able to absorb almost by osmosis, some of the finer points of jazz harmony. ‘Micks awesome it was great working with him and I learnt heaps’. In what seemed to be an almost natural progression he found work at the Forte School of Music as a guitar teacher in 2004, broadening in the process his contacts with a wide range of Sydneys musical milieu. Additionally at this time he took private lessons from Conservatorium Teachers.
In recent times he has played with a wide range of both Australian and overseas musicians, a particular highlight being invited to play on stage with the now almost legendary Nunno Bettecourt, formerly of the band Extreme and now Population 1. ‘What can I say this guys reputation precedes him its been a huge highlight for me’.Khan also has a growing army of students with his suitably named studio, Sydney Harbour Guitar Tuition, and located in a Historic Georgian Terrace overlooking Sydneys most famous natural asset. When asked of his future goals he replied modestly simply to continue learning, get a few albums together and perform on the world stage’.