Text by: Sammy Stein | Photos by: Jesse Winter & Yui Kitamura
It is not often I let a good CD pass me by but for some reason I allowed this one to – until now. Mark Wade is an American born bass player now living in the UK and, with his trio of Tim Harrison, piano, and Scott Neumann, drums has recorded his debut album Event Horizon with Edition records.
Right through this album Wade, whose compositions these are, shines as a player, composer and bandsman. What Wade understands is the essence of musical colours and textures and even without horns, there is a fullness and fluidity to this album – and that is down to the composition. Wade uses the piano parts to fill add depth in places as well as the drums to emphasise the rhythmic quality of pieces like ‘Twist In The Wind’.
The opening ‘Jump For Joy’ is classy and flows well across the bass, piano and percussion. The waltz emphasis on the prime beat adds a distinct rhythmic quality, under which the instruments weave their spell. Working around the piano-led theme, this is a cool opening. ’The Prisoner’ is atmospheric from the start and what works here is the controlled bass contradicting the tricky drums and punctuated piano. The bass dominates in a sleuth-like manner, creeping up on you from the background and finally being the instrument you hear the most. Clever writing.’ Apogee’ is rolling, deep and soulful with a lighter twist in the piano lines whilst the ever changing rhythms gain the attention. Short but with several sections developed it this is a great track. ‘Singsong’ is a well-developed piece with lots of contrapuntal rhythms discussions between the parts and a great drum solo from Scott. Repeated riffs make a mockery of the title as, whilst not a song, they form a theme through the piece. ‘Tossed’ has overtones of Cuba and is laced through with the beat of a demon in a dancing, slightly menacing shape. A lot goes on in the almost 8 minutes of this track it flies by and there is something for everyone here. ‘Valley and Stream’ is beautiful and offers up a more then decent bass solo from Mark, expressively played and the piece is gorgeously structured in a curve of sounds. ‘Twist In The Wind’ is hard-driven, fast paced and cleverly takes you through several steps whilst the theme is worked right the way through the sections. ‘Cold Stream’ is balladic and very gently prepares for the final track, a working of the Harold Arlen’s unusually timed, “If I Only Had a Brain.” This is a great arrangement and the gradations from harmonic chordal ascensions are well delivered and almost true to the original.
This album is intriguing and very engaging because there is an understanding of the colour of jazz music here – maybe not straight jazz but sure fired references and mostly, this hits the bull’s eye for listenability. The use of the bass not just to accompany the piano, though it is used as that here, but at times as a solo instrument makes for far more diversity then many trio works. The understanding and inclusion of different textures is clear and this makes for a rich, deep and luxurious sense of completion to the landscape of the music. Mark Wade and his trio, I would not mind betting, are going to be around the music scene for a long time.
Release 2015 on Edition 46 records