Mark Egan - Fretted and fretless basses
Bill Evans - Saxophones
Mitch Forman - Keyboards
Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Roger Squitero - Percussion
Massachusetts-born, electric bass guitarist, Mark Egan has been
active on the jazz scene since 1975. Saxophonist Bill Evans was a
fellow member of the Elements jazz/fusion group with Egan in the
early 1980s, along with the pianist and keyboards player Mitch
Forman and both join him on the disc under review. Egan has played
with a host of significant talents in both jazz and pop contexts
including the Gil Evans Orchestra, Pat Metheny and Sting. He formed
his own record company, Wavetone Records in 1992. He is known as a
composer (all the tracks bar one on this album are written by him).
His ability in this sphere has been expressed in a diversity of
ways including film scores and commercials. The late, lamented Jaco
Pastorius, one of the finest ever to play fretless electric bass
guitar, had a profound, positive influence on Egan's development.
Indeed, Egan was fortunate enough to have had private tuition with
him at an early stage in his career.
As usual with Egan, there are some singular compositions to be
found here. Take, for instance, Sea Saw, where every
member of the group gets the opportunity to display their wares in
what is an infectious piece. Egan's probing solo is one of his best
and he sets the standard for telling contributions from his fellow
musicians. Blue Rain has a similarly engaging theme and
features some intricate soprano sax from Evans and stirring
keyboard work from Mitch Forman. Tracks such as Frog Legs
are reminiscent of the Weather Report sound in the days when
Pastorius graced the group. Bill Evans is constantly inventive
throughout the album, whether on soprano or tenor saxophones. Hear
him, for instance, on the intriguing Blue Launch which,
appropriately enough, suggests more than a hint of the blues. Café Risque and Pepé
are blessed with an insistent beat as does Gargoyle where
we are treated to rock-style drumming of a high order. Mitch Forman
on keyboards never fails to stimulate the listener and it is his
composition, Shadow Play, that allows Egan to coax an
admirably rich sound from his instrument. Slightly off the pace, I
thought, were Rhyme Or Reason and After Thought.
The latter has voices and sounds which put me in mind of the title
track of the Miles Davis album You're Under Arrest.
This is not Mark Egan's most recent album nor necessarily his best.
What is always on offer on his recordings, however, is a high
standard of musicianship from members of the group and an intuitive
grasp of what makes for creative interaction.