Wavetone's most recent release: Mark Egan Truth Be Told
For immediate release
Bassist Mark Egan Showcases New Band On Truth Be Told, Wavetone Release Features Bill Evans, Mitch Forman and Vinnie Colaiuta
One of the premier electric bassists of contemporary jazz, Mark Egan has distinguished himself over the past 30 years as an in-demand session player, valued sideman, prolific composer and respected leader in his own right.
On Truth Be Told, Egan reunites with longtime colleagues Mitch Forman (keyboards) Bill Evans (saxophones) and Roger Squitero (percussion). The powerhouse quartet is fueled by drummer extraordinaire Vinnie Colaiuta, who brings his considerable chops to bear on funk-fusion offerings like “Gargoyle,” “Café Risque,” the uptempo burner “Rhyme or Reason,” the hard-hitting Mahavishnu flavored “Pepe” and the slamming title track.
While Egan has been noted for his remarkably melodic fretless bass work since his days with the Pat Metheny Group (from 1977-1980), the groove-oriented Truth Be Told represents another aspect of his playing not normally associated with him. “Before I joined the Pat Metheny Group I was playing mostly R&B in New York both live in clubs as well as in the studios,” he recalls. “When I first came to New York I was the original bass player in the 24th Street Band, which was a progressive groove playing band with Steve Jordan on drums, Hiram Bullock on guitar and Clifford Carter on keyboards. I wasn’t focused on playing fretless bass then and was heavily influenced by groups such as Weather Report, Miles Davis, The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Stuff and everything that was happening in the mid ‘70s in New York. And I had a strong foundation in funk from studying at the University of Miami with Jaco Pastorius, who introduced me to great groove bass players like Bernard Odom with Maceo and the Kings Men, Bootsy Collins with James Brown and James Jamerson, who was the bassist for most of the classic Motown recordings. So that’s a big part of my background, though some people wouldn’t know it.”
Egan reveals another motivation for wanting to deal more in funk and fusion on Truth Be Told. “Knowing the potential of having Vinnie on the session, I wanted to record more groove-oriented music with a progressive edge. So I wrote with him in mind, creating some rhythmic vamps at the end of certain pieces that Vinnie could really stretch over. And he just killed it!” Colaiuta unleashes with a fury at the tag of the urgent jamming vehicle “Blue Launch” and also on the powerhouse “Rhyme or Reason,” which features an incendiary tenor sax-drums breakdown with Bill Evans that elevates the track. Elsewhere, Colaiuta ignites the hard-hitting, odd-metered “Pepe” with his highly charged drumming, slams with authority on the funky title track and expertly grooves the soulful Stuff-influenced opener “Frog Legs” as well as the highly syncopated “Café Risque.” Adds Egan, “I also wanted to make sure I had a lot of stretching room in these compositions for Bill and Mitch, who are both such great soloists, while also leaving room for my bass solos and groove interplay.”
He succeeds on all counts, creating music that is brimming with challenging, tightly executed heads yet full of urgent, free blowing solos. Evans distinguishes himself throughout with typically bracing solos on both tenor and soprano saxophones while Forman deftly alternates between piano, Fender Rhodes and synths to provide a myriad of colors, textures and thoughtful orchestrations, along with some heated solos of his own.
Egan grooves mightily throughout on fretted bass while his distinctive fretless resounds with singing tones on the soothing, Elements styled “See Saw,” the romantic Mitch Forman ballad “Shadow Play,” the lyrical “Blue Rain” and the introspective, Indian flavored closer, “After Thought.” “The overall tone of this record is coming more from an electric Miles Davis/Weather Report point of view,” says Egan. “There’s a much more aggressive attitude here and we're ‘going for it’. I didn’t want to put any limitations on this project at all because all of the players in their own right are incredibly talented soloists and leaders. I just wanted to let Bill, Vinnie and Mitch go play and let the pieces fall where they may.” And they wail with impunity on this killer outing, the latest triumph in the ever-evolving career of the prodigious bassist-composer. Egan’s distinctive fretless bass sound has graced countless jazz and pop albums as well as award-winning movie and television soundtracks. A charter member of the Pat Metheny Group, he has played on multi-platinum-selling recordings by Sting, Arcadia and Joan Osborne and has also recorded with a wide variety of artists from pop stars like Roger Daltry, Sophie B. Hawkins, Marianne Faithfull, Judy Collins, Cyndi Lauper and Art Garfunkel to jazz notables like David Sanborn, John McLaughlin, Gato Barbieri, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Mark Murphy and Larry Coryell.
A member of the Gil Evans Orchestra for 13 years, Egan has also racked up seven albums as a leader and ten as a co-leader of Elements, the band he formed in 1982 with his Pat Metheny Group bandmate, drummer Danny Gottlieb. Truth Be Told is his fifth release as a leader on his own Wavetone Records label (including 2001 Freedom Town, 2006’s As We Speak and reissues of his 1985 landmark, Mosaic, and 1993’s Beyond Words).
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