NOVEMBER 1, 2011

Terrence McManus

guitarist-composer-sound artist


Guitarist Terrence McManus has made a name for himself in the improvised/contemporary music scene, with an unmistakable sound and truly new approach to the guitar. Described as "a visionary guitarist" by guitar icon Gene Bertoncini, Terrence's unique style and approach have also been heralded by guitar greats Bill Frisell and John Abercrombie. He has performed with artists including John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Don Byron, and John Hollenbeck. In 2008, Terrence was featured in the book State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words, by legendary photographer Ralph Gibson.

Performance Notes

The common threads that are weaved through Terrence's performance are the seamless blending of traditional guitar playing with a new direction in prepared guitar, industrial based sounds, and live sound manipulation, using old fashioned technologies and sensibilities. The music is performed by one person, using one guitar, in one signal chain, ending in one amplifier, but it is realized with a richness not usually associated with such limitations. The result is a music that lives and breathes, and touches upon something deep rooted and fundamental, which resonates with a wide audience.

Press Quotes

"McManus is one of New York's latest guitar heroes"- All About Jazz

"...shifting from looming formations of rocky noise to a bracing, pointilistic spray...—DownBeat

"All great guitarists find a voice inside the instrument, but Terrence McManus hit on an entirely new language." -Gambit (New Orleans)

", unconscious empathy......language that takes in everything..." -The Wire (UK)

" improvisational guitarist who's constantly looking for new, unexpected ways to make music...He comes off like a 21st century extension of Brian Eno..." -The Trenton Times

"McManus is a guitar explorer, drawing on both traditional and extended techniques in a style that’s nonetheless distinctively pared down, at once emotive, intense and vocal." -Point of Departure


Born in Brooklyn, New York, guitarist Terrence McManus grew up in New Jersey and Connecticut. He has performed or recorded with John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Don Byron, John Hollenbeck, Tim Berne, Ellery Eskelin, Herb Robertson, Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, Anthony Cox, Kermit Driscoll, Russ Lossing, Marty Ehrlich, Mat Maneri, Ben Monder, Matt Moran, Billy Mintz, Michael Sarin, and Gene Bertoncini. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the New York Guitar Festival, the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and the inaugural month at John Zorn's The Stone.

In 2008 Terrence was featured in the book, State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words, by legendary photographer Ralph   Gibson, The book is published by Yale University Press and The Museum of Fine Arts, in Houston, TX.

Terrence is currently a member of the Gerry Hemingway Quintet, the Kermit Driscoll Trio and Quartet, the Herb Robertson Ensemble, the Gerry Hemingway/Terrence McManus Duo, and the John Hebert/Terrence McManus Duo. Terrence is featured on the 2011 Gerry Hemingway Quintet release Riptide, and the 2010 Hemingway/McManus Duo release, Below the Surface of.

In 2010 the Hemingway/McManus Duo toured the Midwest, performing and teaching in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Also in 2010, the John Hebert/Terrence McManus duo performed and taught in New Orleans, LA.

Terrence's own projects include Transcendental Numbers, with Mark Helias, and Gerry Hemingway, which has a recording entitled Transcendental Numbers, released in 2011, on the No Business Record label from Lithuania. He also leads a chamber quintet with Ellery Eskelin, Mat Maneri, Russ Lossing, and Gerry Hemingway. The quintet recently premiered a new sixty minute, multi-sectional, through-composed work titled, The Machine. The piece has also been performed in an trio configuration, and in a solo guitar setting.

An accomplished solo guitarist, Terrence performs his own compositions and arrangements, and has developed a unique style of improvisation, drawing on extended technique and prepared guitar. His first solo recording, Brooklyn EP, was released in 2010. In 2009 he was invited to perform in the 5th annual Electro-Music Festival, and that same year did solo tour of California, with concerts in San Francisco, Berkeley, Monterey, and San Diego. In 2011, Terrence completed a solo tour of the Northwestern United States, performing in Seattle, WA, Portland and Eugene, OR, and Anchorage, AK.

Actively involved in education, Terrence has taught at Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, the University of Nebraska, The New School in New York City and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.