SteepleChase recording artist Joe Manis is noted for the strength of his "intense, updated take on the glorious Rollins-'Trane tradition." (Willamette Week) Manis was the recipient of a 2013 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. His album for SteepleChase LookOut Records, The Golden Mean, features George Colligan on organ, Kevin Congleton on drums, and Lillie Manis on viola and was released in 2015. North By Northwest was released by SteepleChase LookOut Records in 2013.
He released his debut album Evidence in 2009 features Manis on tenor saxophone, Kevin Congleton on drums, and Portland luminary Dave Captein on bass: the Willamette Week called the album "explosive," and said "(Manis) makes Pink Floyd's 'Money' sound like something a young John Coltrane might have played"; the Eugene Weekly said: "Fabulous... Will thrill fans of Monk, Rollins."
The Joe Manis Trio was featured at Rontoms during the 2010 PDX Jazz Festival, a high-energy performance that was a featured Willamette Week "Pick" and received praise from local music critics and bloggers; the Trio returned to the Festival in 2011 and 2013. Recent Joe Manis Trio appearances include Fat Cat NYC, the Shedd Institute's jazz series, Jimmy Mak's, Tula's, the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, and the Montavilla Jazz Festival.
Manis plays alto saxophone with the the Alan Jones Sextet, has toured Europe as a duo with David Friesen, and plays with Friesen's Trio, Quartet and Quintet. He also appears on Risky Notion (Four stars & Best Albums of 2015, DownBeat Magazine) on Origin Records with George Colligan's Theoretical Planets. Manis has played with Dr. Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, including a performance at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, and appears on their album Rise Up! on Real World Records; he has also performed with the George Colligan Quartet, the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, the Ken Schaphorst Big Band, the Temptations, comedian Bob Newhart, Wayne Newton, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, the Sunriver Music Festival Orchestra, the Eugene Symphony, and the Eugene Opera.
Manis has presented jazz masterclasses across the country, including at Whitman College, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Oregon, Ferris State University, Willamette University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Portland Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, and Lane Community College. He received a Master of Music in Jazz Studies-Performance with Academic Honor from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Oregon. Additional studies were at the Eastman School of Music. He is a current faculty member at Portland State University and Mt. Hood Community College and a former music faculty member at Umpqua Community College. His article "Rhythmic Analysis: Jeff 'Tain' Watts - 'Housed From Edward'" was published in the March 2012 edition of JAZZed Magazine. Manis also writes for the Jazz Society of Oregon's Jazzscene. He is married to violinist/violist/educator, Lillie Manis, with whom he has a son, Ellery Manis.