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The coolest part of a jazz trio is the listener can
hear every note from each individual musician
then the collective, as they waver, wander, and
wild out on intense improvisational trips. That’s
the way it went with bassist Mark Egan and his
jazz contemporaries, drummer Danny Gottlieb
and pianist Mitchel Forman.
This Super Trio is the crème de la crème of
sidemen, having understudied with the best. You
name it, they’ve been on the ride: Pat Metheny
Group, Sting, Joan Osborne, Pat Martino, Gil
Evans, Phil Woods, Astrud Gilberto, Mel Tormé,
See also: new music, national, jazz,
new jazz album review
Super Trio’s Mark
Egan, Danny Gottlieb,
teleport jazz rides
June 3, 2015
9:58 PM MST
Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb,
Mitchel Forman “Direction
Home” • March 25, 2015 •
John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Gary Burton, Diane Schuur, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Clark Terry… The list, it’s never-ending, mindblowing.
Egan’s ready to spread the word about his eighth
album, Direction Home (Wavetone Records), with
his faithful trio. Out since March 25th, the Super
Trio’s Direction Home touches all the sweet
spots, reminding the listener of Allan Holdsworth
and a mellowed-out Pat Metheny.
The nine original compositions — most of them generated from the vantage point of the piano
seem to trace the same billowy pattern of a lot of past and
post adult contemporary artists, too — from Sting
to Keith Jarrett, an eclectic bunch.
“Both ‘Mountain People’ and the rhythmically
tricky ‘After Math’ feature those gospel-infused
piano flourishes by Forman while the more
delicate ‘Gratitude’ has him channeling his inner
Bill Evans in a ‘Flamenco Sketches’ vein. The
funky and exuberant opener ‘Summer Fun’
features the pianist in earthy and riveting piano
Photo courtesy of Super Trio
performances that recall the soul-jazz leanings of
Ramsey Lewis and Les McCann. He pushes the
harmonic envelope on his adventurous solo on
‘Jungle Walk’ while at times alluding to the
adventurous stylings of Ahmad Jamal and the
gospel-tinged vamping of Keith Jarrett,”
JazzTimes’ Bill Milkowski reviewed April 4, 2015,
via Wavetone’s Press Page. “‘On my previous
recording, Mitch alternated between piano and
Fender Rhodes, and he also played synths on a
few tracks,’ says Egan of About Now .
‘Thistime out I decided to continue exploring with the
trio with an all acoustic piano instrumentation. I
feel that the music evolved in many ways to be
more progressive, collectively featuring more
extended solos both harmonically and
rhythmically. In general we took more chances
with Direction Home.’”
What Egan, Gottlieb, and Forman do with the
nine original compositions speaks louder than
the remnants of a homeless pop base or an adult
jazz fusion found in countless derivative bands
since Holdsworth’s hold on diminishing returns.
Egan plays a whirlwind on his fretless electric
bass, his easy intensity showing through. Gottlieb
and Forman accompany his search for the right
grooves home, without throwing the whole
journey off-kilter. They’re strolling the personal
storms and the strange, strangulated jungles
together, acknowledging the passing of the
bassist’s mom (the moving ballad, “Gratitude”)
and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy (“After
The Storm,” considerable in its breadth).
In many ways, the trio’s doing more than
investigating the tricks of the trade (6/8’s
“Mountain People,” the rhythmic configuration of
“After Math”). They’re conveying the deepest of
emotion as only musicians living in the wordless
notes can, through compelling geysers and
sensitive shifts — hot off the charts.
" Danny Gottlieb Quartet performs special
jazz event at Honolulu’s Musicians Union
" Allan Holdsworth creates music for nonexistent
movie out of nothing
" Frank Gambale returns to his roots with
R2F IV world tour, new ‘Soulmine’ album
© 2006-2015 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com
Carol Banks Weber
Jazz Music Examiner
Wavetone Records and Mark Egan: Press
Mark Egan-Direction Home
Electric Bassist Mark Egan Reunites with Drummer Danny Gottlieb and Pianist Mitchel Forman on Direction Home
Trio project released on Wavetone Records in March 2015
As a follow up to 2014’s About Now, his dynamic groove-oriented recording with longtime colleagues drummer Danny Gottlieb and keyboardist Mitchel Forman, bassist Mark Egan decided to stick to a strictly acoustic piano trio format on his new release, Direction Home. For this latest outing on his Wavetone Records label, the three intrepid improvisers stretch collectively in inventive ways while maintaining a deep connection to the groove.
Throughout the nine original tracks on Direction Home, Egan’s signature style and sound are prominently featured on the fretless electric bass, singing expressively through his 5-string instrument on tunes like the dramatic “After the Storm”, the slow, loping funk of “Jungle Walk”, the gentle ballad “Gratitude” and the title track, while solidly holding down the earthy grooves on “Summer Fun”, “Small Town Blues” and “Mountain People”.
The collection closes in swinging fashion with “The Path Home”, which has the trio exhibiting uncanny interplay in a burning ¾ up-tempo mode.
Two songs on Direction Home -- the gentle “Gratitude”, which is underscored by Gottlieb’s sensitive brushwork, and the turbulent minor key “After the Storm” -- resonate with particularly personal feelings for the bassist-composer. As he explains: “Gratitude was solemnly inspired by my mother’s passing last year. It’s a ballad that expresses thanks to my parents for bringing me into this world, for nurturing me and for providing me with the opportunities that led me to this musical path“.
“After the Storm” is a musical response to hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of Connecticut near our home. “We were without power for 12 days and my impressions from seeing nature’s wrath on the day after the hurricane were the inspiration for the song. The basic themes for most of the songs on this recording were composed at the piano.”
The dynamic 6/8 groover, “Mountain People”, the only piece on Direction Home not composed by Egan alone, is co-credited to Gottlieb and Forman. “I had the idea for the groove and had written the bass lines and a rough sketch of the form which reminded me of a Sting sounding bass line”, says Egan. “To help complete the composition and arrangement I asked Danny and Mitch to collaborate.”
Throughout the entire recording Gottlieb tastefully propels and compliments the trio with his masterful drumming. The dynamic duo of Egan and Gottlieb once again seamlessly flows as an innovative rhythm section after experiencing nearly four decades as a bass and drum team.
Both “Mountain People” and the rhythmically tricky “After Math” feature those gospel-infused piano flourishes by Forman while the more delicate “Gratitude” has him channeling his inner Bill Evans in a “Flamenco Sketches” vein. The funky and exuberant opener “Summer Fun” features the pianist in earthy and riveting piano performances that recall the soul-jazz leanings of Ramsey Lewis and Les McCann. He pushes the harmonic envelope on his adventurous solo on “Jungle Walk” while at times alluding to the adventurous stylings of Ahmad Jamal and the gospel-tinged vamping of Keith Jarrett.
“On my previous recording, Mitch alternated between piano and Fender Rhodes, and he also played synths on a few tracks”, says Egan of About Now. “This time out I decided to continue exploring with the trio with an all acoustic piano instrumentation. I feel that the music evolved in many ways to be more progressive, collectively featuring more extended solos both harmonically and rhythmically. In general we took more chances with Direction Home.”
The results are rewarding from opener to closer on Direction Home, with plenty of room for exploratory solos along the way. It’s another triumph in Egan’s burgeoning catalog as a leader.
Mark Egan About Now
Legendary Bassist releases Super Trio Recording with Danny Gottlieb and Mitchel Forman.
Contemporary jazz bassist and composer Mark Egan has released his seventh recording as a leader on Wavetone Records in a dynamic trio setting featuring master drummer Danny Gottlieb and brilliant keyboardist Mitch Forman.
While Mark is best known for his work with the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Joan Osborne, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino and Gil Evans, this recording features Mark’s powerful yet eloquent solo playing as well as his special ability to support and provide creative interplay for the trio.
The nine stellar original instrumental jazz compositions contain that rare combination of master musicianship and creative soloing from some of the most influential contemporary improvising musicians.
• All Star contemporary jazz trio
Mark Egan- Bass (Pat Metheny, Sting, Gil Evans
Danny Gottlieb-Drums (Pat Metheney, John Mcglaughlin)
Mitchel Forman-Keyboards (Wayne Shorter, John Mcglaughin)
• State of the art audiophile recording quality
Downloads available at Amazon-iTunes
Cds at CdBaby.com Amazon
Mark Egan: Funk to the Fore TRUTH BE TOLD INTERVIEW
Mark Egan is considered to be one of the most respected and in-demand electric bassists on the music scene today. His unique fretless bass sound and style is both distinctive and versatile and his musical contributions incomparable. With three platinum and three gold albums to his credit, Mark has recorded with the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Arcadia, Roger Daltry and Joan Osborne; performed with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Bill Evans, Danny Gottlieb, Marianne Faithful, David Sanborn, John McLaughlin and Sophie B. Hawkins among many others. Hehas added his musical prowess to such movies and television shows as Aladdin, The Color of Money, A Chorus Line, NBC Sports, ABC’s All My Children, CNN/Headline News and numerous award-winning television commercials.
Egan’s latest studio project, Truth Be Told, features him playing alongside top-tier music veterans drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, saxophonist Bill Evans, and keyboardist Mitch Forman.
Abstract Logix: Mark, this is the second time I’ve had the honor of interviewing you. The first, as you may recall, was for Bassics magazine a few years ago. Thanks in advance for your time and thoughtful responses to my questions/
Mark Egan: Robert, it’s my pleasure to speak with you again. I really enjoyed our last interview for Bassics.
AL: It’s nice to hear you playing again with Bill Evans. One of my favorite albums from years ago was his Alternative Man … That was a brilliant recording.
ME: It’s always great playing with Bill Evans. He is such an incredibly talented musician. Alternative Man is a great record and he has continued his career with touring and producing many great recordings since then. I had the pleasure of recording on that record with John McLaughlin and that is one of the musical high points of my career. I have also been a member of his touring band, Soul Grass, for the last few years and that has provided much of the inspiration for my new record, Truth Be Told.
AL: Truth Be Told definitely highlights some aspects of your bass playing and composing that many people haven’t been too familiar with. Tell me more about your overall creative process in writing for, planning and recording the album.
ME: For that latest album, I wanted to branch out and feature more of a quartet sound, similar in some ways to past Elements projects but more groove-oriented. Elements is a band that I co-lead with drummer Danny Gottlieb and we have recorded eight projects since its inception in 1982.
As I mentioned, over the past four years I have been playing in a lot of different situations, especially with Bill Evans’ band, Soulgrass, as well as recording with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. The drummer is always the driving force in any ensemble that I am involved with, so I wanted to write the music around Vinnie Colaiuta for Truth Be Told. Many of my listeners are familiar with my bass playing alongside master drummer Danny Gottlieb. So on Truth Be Told, I wanted to orchestrate this recording in a different way. To get more into an improvisational groove concept, which is different than my previous ECM-influenced trio project, As We Speak, which I recorded with guests John Abercrombie and Danny Gottlieb.
This new recording was a conscious effort to do a different type of project, and I wrote with the players in mind, Bill Evans, Vinnie Colaiuta and Mitch Forman. My basic intent was to create music that not only had great grooves, but also would allow space for me to be a soloist. I enjoy being a team player by supporting these great soloists, Bill, Vinnie and Mitch. I wrote tunes specifically for these players in this concept. And I also had some songs from the past that hadn't been recorded on my own projects, but that had been recorded on other people’s albums. For instance, the first track, “Frog Legs,” is a song that I wrote back in 1998 that I previously recorded with Lew Soloff and Jeff Ciampa on their respective records.
I’ve been so fortunate to play with so many great players, especially drummers, and every one of them comes from a different direction with different influences, which makes me play differently as a bassist. In Vinnie’s case, not only does he have an incredibly strong groove for most any genre, but his masterful technique for soloing is highly evolved and very exciting. He’s a great improviser as well as a great groove player and, in general, very flexible. I knew when I was conceptualizing this record that Vinnie would be the focal point. Beyond that, I really wanted to compose songs that would create an open backdrop that would allow Bill and Mitch to be as free as possible. Many of the songs have open vamps at the end with ostinato-type figures that were great vehicles for Vinnie to solo over, and he blew me away on every take!
As far as the compositions, they all started from a particular groove in mind and I expanded on some basic ideas. Some songs, like “Rhyme or Reason,” were written on my bass while others, like “Truth Be Told” and “Café Risque,” were started in my computer sequencing program.
AL: Looks like—according to the photos on the inside of the album—you guys were able to mostly play “live” in the studio as an interactive quartet, versus just laying down separate tracks sequentially. How does having that immediate interplay influence your bass playing specifically?
ME: We recorded eleven songs in three days “live” in the studio during June 2009 in New York City. The immediate interplay of playing together as a group is what music is all about for me. The musical conversation and interaction is my favorite form of expression and the reason why I became interested in music from the beginning.
I came to the sessions with some preliminary bass lines in mind for the various compositions and also knew that I needed to be open and flexible once we started recording, because I wanted to play off of everyone. I was super-focused on what Vinnie contributed and adjusted my lines in order to compliment his kick, snare and high-hat grooves. What I loved about this experience is the constant interplay between the bass and drums. I enjoy this aspect of interactive playing, just as much as soloing on top of a group. The sessions were all about creative listening, reacting and complementing each other.
AL: Many people think of you/your Pedulla bass(es) as being silky smooth and sonorous. But with this album, it was “funk to the fore.” Did your basses surprise you in their ability to deliver the punch you were looking for? It’s kind of like the Pedullas were speaking a new language …
ME: I played my Pedulla five-string fretted and fretless basses on the Truth Be Told sessions. I knew that they would be perfect for the music since I record with them all the time in a variety of styles. The reason that I like these instruments so much is because they can be very punchy and deep sounding, while at the same time very melodic, with a lot of sustain and with lots of versatility.
AL: Did you actively—for lack of any other word—“study” other funk/soul/R&B-driven tunes before writing the charts for this album? In other words, if you did so, what was the “homework” you did in advance?
ME: I didn’t actively listen to much funk/soul/R&B-driven music for inspiration for this project. Funk/soul/R&B are some of my deep playing roots for many years though and what I did listen to for inspiration were Don Grolnick’s music and some of the music from Steps Ahead and Michael Brecker. The creative writing process is fascinating to me. Whenever I start out with a music idea it always leads to another song that I didn’t have in mind. The most important part of the process is to have the time to be open, to let ideas flow. And one idea just leads to another.
AL: I love “Pepé.” It starts off sounding like a big ol’ Motown groove. Then it traverses in to lots of other territories. Parts of it remind of Béla Fleck & the Flecktones’ tunes. Tell me more about this song; I think it’s one of the boldest things you’ve recorded in quite some time.
ME: “Pepé” is a song that started from a bass line that I wrote in 1974 on a beach with my bass during a very creative period in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I always keep a manuscript book of compositional ideas and when I was assembling songs for Truth Be Told, I wanted to finish this song for this instrumentation and feature Vinnie and Mitch. It was actually inspired by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I added a melody played by Bill Evans and doubled by Mitch Forman. This was a fun song to record. Mitch later added some great synth parts.
AL: “Café Risque” is also another winner. Vinnie’s drum groove is so syncopated, at first, but it still keeps a driving pulse—like David Garibaldi. Then you go in to this fast-paced funky shuffle. That song must’ve been a lot fun to write and play …
ME: “Café Risque” was a lot of fun to record and was right up Vinnie’s alley. The composing of the song started on the keyboard and I kept extending the melody and creating sections that would feature Vinnie as well as Bill Evan’s incredible soprano sax playing. Mitch also plays some amazing acoustic piano parts.
AL: According to your comments in the album, the entire 11 songs were recorded in three days. Had you given the other players your music in advance? Or did it all come together for the first time when you four assembled in Avatar Studios? Again, what’s the backline story about this project?
ME: I sent the musicians a disc and pdf files of the music about two weeks before the session. On the disc were basic demos that I had produced at my Electric Fields studio. We only played the songs when in the studio and most of the takes were the first or second times that we played them. Everyone did their homework and it really came together the first time that we played the songs. I was “all-ears” with my own bass approach being in the presence of such heavy players. Even though I had some specific bass lines, I was very flexible with the creative process.
AL: Why did you choose to use predominately Avatar Studios versus your Electric Fields Studio in Warwick? That’s your home studio, right?
ME: Avatar studios is one of the finest studios in the world and I wanted its sound. My studio, Electric Fields, is a great project studio but for this recording, I wanted focus on being a musician and not have to think about the technical aspect of the recording. Phil Magnotti was the engineer and he got a great sound on everyone.
AL: Playing with Vinnie Colaiuta must’ve been quite an experience. Did playing with him—versus, Danny Gottlieb (and other drummers with whom you’ve played)—influence your bass playing differently for this project?
ME: As I mentioned earlier, all drummers have a different approach to the music and playing with Vinnie was an incredible experience. Danny Gottlieb and I have an ESP- type of connection with music. We have played together so much with the Pat Metheny Group and with our group, Elements, as well as many other musical experiences and we are a team. Vinnie has a different slant on that concept and has so much experience in many different styles of grooves. As I’d said, I just went with the flow and tried to fit into Vinnie’s sensibilities while still complimenting the music.
AL: I really dig “After Thought.” Tell me more about how that song came about; it’s quite different than many of the others. Who’s the Indian voice at the beginning?
ME: “After Thought” is a free ballad that I wrote for the session. I wanted to make a feature for my fretless bass sound for a free-flowing melodic/Indian-influenced space. Mitch Forman orchestrated the song so beautifully. The Indian voices are samples form Mitch’s collection of sounds.
AL: So what’s next for you? What projects are you working on now or are slated to work on in the near future?
ME: I will be recording with a great guitarist, Paul Shugihira, from Germany who I met while recording with Bill Evans and Dave Weckl with the WDR Orchestra on the CD, Vans Joint. It will be a trio with drummer Adam Nussbaum. I am also starting to compose for a new solo project that will be an acoustic ensemble featuring Indian percussion, acoustic guitar, flute and bass. And I continue to perform with Bill Evans’ group, Soul Grass, which is a great experience. Danny Gottlieb and I are also working on a new Elements album that we’ll record in the near future.
In closing, I’d just like to add that I continue to be inspired by the great improvisers of contemporary music. I still practice on a regular basis, which is endless, to improve my playing. My goals are to be in the playing presence of great improvisers and to continue growing and moving with contemporary music. I am also fascinated with composition and creating backdrops that create an environment for highly creative improvisations. What I enjoy the most is being in the moment of creating music with friends … that’s what it’s all about for me. Truth Be Told is totally about this.
Truth Be Told Mark Egan | Wavetone Records (2010) By Dan Bilawsky Discuss Mark Egan often provides subtle accompaniment, holding things together with his bass work and making other musicians look good in his role as a studio musician. The music on Truth Be Told shows off his extroverted side as he blazes through an assortment of funk/fusion tracks with some formidable sidemen along for the ride. The quintet—Egan, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Roger Squitero, keyboardist Mitch Forman and saxophonist Bill Evans—launches right into a funky strut on the album opener, "Frog Legs." Forman's little licks work their way into the musical gaps, serving as the grease that keeps all the parts moving, while Evans' slick and soulful soprano saxophone seems to energize the band. Evans and Egan move through the melody of "Gargoyle," a rhythmic ride with some tricky stops thrown in, and Squitero's hand drumming blends well with Colaiuta's kit work. Some otherworldly keyboard sounds show up on the title track and Forman takes over melodic duties at the outset, with Evans' tenor sounding playful at times as he dives into the track. An earthy, loose-limbed feeling seems to come over the band as "Sea Saw" starts. Evans provides some mellow melody on soprano but the energy skyrockets when Colaiuta is in charge. He meddles with time, toying with metric modulation but never going over to the other side. Forman's keyboard flirts with Egan's bass on the opening of "Café Risque" and Colaiuta works some similar metric magic here. "Shadow Play" veers toward the smooth side, complete with wind chimes and rim clicks on the drums, with Egan delivering some of the disc's most melodious bass playing as something darker seems to lurk in the shadows. "Blue Launch" provides a platform for Forman, Evans and Colaiuta to tear things up but the band really reaches fever pitch on "Rhyme Or Reason." Egan and Evans move together during their brisk melodic delivery and some excitable drums are heard behind them. The energy is evident from the first note and, eventually, the musical dam bursts. Evans—and, to a greater extent, Colaiuta—unleashes chops as a furious assault takes place. Things lighten up a bit for "Blue Rain," but the excitement returns on "Pepé," which start off in a funky place until Colaiuta moves to a caffeinated drum-n-bass groove and Forman provides a flurry of notes—the star on this particular piece. "After Thought," the brief closing track, is the only thing that seems out of place. Two minutes of sitar-esque bass work, with gleaming, atmospheric sounds in the background, seem anti-climactic after Egan's bold and striking musical creations throughout Truth Be Told. Track listing: Frog Legs; Gargoyle; Truth Be Told; Sea Saw; Café Risque; Shadow Play; Blue Launch; Rhyme Or Reason; Blue Rain; Pepé; After Thought. Personnel: Mark Egan: fretted and fretless basses; Bill Evans: saxophones; Mitch Forman: keyboards; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums; Roger Squitero: percussion.
Mark Egan "As We Speak"
MARK EGAN FEATURING JOHN ABERCROMBIE AND DANNY GOTTLIEB
Album Title: As We Speak
Producer(s): Mark Egan
Label/Catalog Number: Wavetone
Originally Reviewed: September 26, 2006
Virtuoso fretless bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb, previously rhythm section partners for their own Elements band and the Pat Metheny Group, link up with journeyman jazz guitarist John Abercrombie for 16 lessons in intuitive trio playing. The leader, inspired in part by Abercrombie's Gateway trio and playing music reminiscent of Metheny's early work with Egan's one-time teacher, Jaco Pastorius, uses his Pedulla five-string to hum, growl and slide his way through two discs' worth of originals and other tunes recorded live at his Electric Fields studio. His warm bass melds beautifully with Abercrombie's fluid guitar for unison lines on the title track, imbues the standard "Alone Together" with appreciable dramatics and takes the lead on the aptly titled ballad "Your Sweet Way," stating the poignant melody over Gottlieb's sensitive propulsion on brushes. The second CD offers just as many treasures, including the free-floating group-penned "Dream Sequence" and Abercrombie's limber, conversational "Time Out." Trouble with trios? Not here. -- Philip Booth
MARK EGAN – as we speak
Mark Egan came to the attention of most of us in the mid-70s, as a member of the first Pat Metheny Group, with whom he recorded a number of classic albums. Between 1982 and 1990 he released not only two solo albums, ‘Mosaic’ and ‘A touch of light’, but also six albums with PMG partner in rhythm, drummer Danny Gottlieb, as ‘Elements’. I still have all of these albums on vinyl, always having loved the bassist’s fretless work that, while clearly influenced by Jaco, nonetheless established a turf of its own. Apart from some recordings with Gil Evans and collaborations with the Hooters and Joan Osborn, I didn’t hear much of Egan after 1990, to my considerable regret.
Until now, that is. ‘As we speak’ is, to put it mildly, an astonishing album. Weighing in at over 100 minutes, this trio date features musicians who appear to be connected at the brain – or perhaps more accurately the heart. The interaction between the bassist and drummer Danny Gottlieb is already legendary, and these recordings are further testimony to this. In October 1986 I caught the Randy Brecker-Eliane Elias quintet at Fat Tuesday in New York, with Gottlieb and guitarist John Abercrombie. What had impressed me most that night was the telepathic interplay between drummer and guitarist: when Abercrombie was soloing, Gottlieb was right behind him, urging him on, shadowing, cajoling him – it was a breathtaking experience. So when I saw the line-up for this album, I knew that I would be in for treat.
Gottlieb’s playing is urgent, yet playful – open and boisterous. Abercrombie’s sound is sharper and crisper than before – already indicated, however, in his contribution to Charles Lloyd’s ‘The water is wide’. And Egan himself … well, his fretless intonation is flawless, his tone big and growly. This comes closest to a straight-ahead jazz recording, probably the first I’ve ever heard of the bassist, as evidenced especially on the trio compositions on disc 2. The sound painting on the opening title, ‘Spirals’, and the authoritative solos on the title track and on the Latinesque ‘Vanishing point’ serve as early, unequivocal signals of the bassist’s intentions: to capture the exuberant spirit and interplay of his favorite trio recordings. Not only is Egan’s bass upfront, but this is also the album that has him coming into his own as a composer. The only ‘cover’ is the Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz classic, ‘Alone together’. The rest is penned either by Egan or by the trio. (In fact, my only quibble here is that the aforementioned piece is played in too fast a tempo, Egan’s masterful take on the melody and soloing notwithstanding. There is obviously no rule that states how tunes should be interpreted; this observation merely reflects my own personal preference.) Egan’s earlier compositions tended to have the character of useful exercises, for ensuring greater finger independence, and arpeggio-related explorations. ‘As we speak’ is the album that comprehensively puts paid to this impression. ‘Your sweet way’ is a ballad that has ‘standard’ written all over it. ‘Mississippi nights’ has a heartlands, Midwestern flavor. ‘Shade and shadows’ is a gently assertive meditation in 3 that picks up steam midway through and features yet another arresting solo by the bassist. ‘Depraw’ has an element of the reverse warp that characterises Monk’s compositions, while ‘Plane to the Trane’ (albeit a ballad) is a soaring, transcendent tribute to the late tenor great name-checked in the title.
In short, this is a climactic double CD that anyone who is interested in bass and in the possibilities of telepathic sonic communication ought to get to own. In other words, a gem of an album!
Kai Horsthemke/ March 2007/South Africa Bass Site
For Immediate Release
January 23, 15
Karl Latham - Ryan Carniaux- Mark Egan release Constellations
Constellations is the debut recording from Karl Latham - Ryan Carniaux - Mark Egan with special guest Nick Rolfe featuring their creative interpretations of the music from Icelandic pop star Björk. On this 74+ minute highly adventurous improvisational outing the group draws from a wide palette of influences ranging from Miles Davis Live-Evil and Bitches Brew to open ended impressionistic variations.
The Icelandic singer Björk has created her own universe with her music and performances that are both exciting and original, but have not found an adequate interpreter until now with Constellations. The fact that jazz musicians time and again play cover versions of Björk compositions is a testament to her brilliant expression and vision.
Master drummer Karl Latham has been a Björk fan for many years. Karl’s Resonance, was released by Dropzone Jazz Records in 2007, on which he recorded a cover version of the Björk song “Pagan Poetry”. Björk's recording Volta was released the same year which triggered an urgent desire in Latham not just to cover the songs but also to create compositions inspired by Bjork, which the group Constellations created for this first release.
Constellations is the embodiment of Björk's complete musical cosmos.
Latham shared his thoughts and plans originally with his long-time friend and colleague bassist Mark Egan. His enthusiasm was contagious and they considered who else could fit into this creative concept. They found another partner during a recording session with the up and coming virtuoso trumpet player Ryan Carniaux. It soon became apparent that keyboardist Nick Rolfe, whom Karl and Mark knew from many joint performances, would be a perfect choice for the project. In the spring of 2013, with sound engineer Jeremy Gillespie from Barbershop Studios, they created these ground breaking interpretations of Bjork’s compositions and improvisations inspired by her music and the meeting of these musical spirits.
A fascinating portrait of a singer and her music emerged from these sessions. The recordings and group are called Constellations.
The bass lines, with Egan’s signature fluid sound, at times repetitive and then again free
flowing, weave through the solid creative grooves created by Latham’s masterful drumming. The clear and powerful trumpet playing by Ryan Carniaux interprets Björk's voice but never mimics it literally. The multi-layered keyboards of Mr. Rolfe support the quartet like a flying sound carpet. The combination of all four musicians creates the hovering thick atmosphere of the "Nordic" sound, which reminds you incessantly of Björk and her performances. Moments from such landmark recordings such as Miles Davis’s Live Evil and Bitches Brew are reminiscent.
Karl Latham, initiator of the project, is a world-class drummer who has performed and recorded with Don Braden, Joel Frahm, Andy Snitzer, Claudio Roditi, Clark Terry, Joe Lovano, Michal Urbaniak and rock icon, Johnny Winter. He tours internationally with the group Unit 1 with John Hart and Mark Egan and can be heard on numerous CDs.
Mark Egan is one of the most well known contemporary bassists. He was an early student of Jaco Pastorius and for many years a member of the original Pat Metheny Group. Egan has also performed and recorded in the Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra, the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band and a group that he co leads with drummer Danny Gottlieb, Elements.
He has also recorded with Sting, Joan Osborn, John McGlaughlin and Marc Cohen, among others.
Ryan Carniaux from Providence, Rhode Island, studied music at Berklee in Boston and then moved to Maastricht (NL). He currently lives in Cologne, tours throughout Europe and the USA and is considered a rising star among young trumpet players. He has played with numerous German musicians including Wolfgang Lackersmid and internationally with Dave Liebman, Jerry Berganzi Mark Murphy and Benny Golson.
Nick Rolfe was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Seattle, Washington. He started classical piano lessons when he was six years old. He studied in New York and has been seen and heard time and again with musicians from Slide Hampton to Roy Hargrove as well as Lizz Wright, India Arie and Nona Hendryx. He is also a successful actor and has appeared in various TV and film productions.
Karl Latham- drums
Ryan Carniaux- trumpet
Mark Egan- bass
Nick Rolfe- keyboards
Please check out Karl Latham – Ryan Carniaux and Mark Egan’s latest release, Constellations.
For Press and Bookings please contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can learn more about the band and see their latest show dates on their website at www.desiredconstellations.net.
Available at: Amazon and iTunes
Visit Double Moon Records: www.doublemoon.de/en/cddetails/dmchr71140.shtml
Distribution: USA/CAN: Allegro - Japan: King
France: Socadisc - UK: Proper Note
Benelux: New Arts Int. - Spain: Distrijazz
Challenge Records International: CHR 71140