Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mark Egan, As We Speak (CD review)

Mark Egan featuring John Abercrombie and Danny Gottlieb
As We Speak(Wavetone)

Virtuoso fretless bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb, previously rhythm-section partners for their own Elements band and the Pat Metheny Group, on As We Speak 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.

(This is a variation of a review that was published by Billboard)

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