About 18 months ago there was a little flurry of CD releases from what I called ‘about timers’. They were all respected musicians on the UK scene who were only just releasing their first recordings as leaders despite being established, experienced, widely respected and …shhhh… no longer young (the round-up is here). Now, from across the pond, comes a gem of a trio album from a New York resident, bass playing ‘about-timer’, Mark Wade. Event Horizon is his debut, released in the US a year ago and last month in Europe on Berlin based label Edition 46.
Wade has carved out a career on the New York scene, swerving between jazz and classical and latterly, promoting new composers has been included in his portfolio. That blend of influences shines through this beautifully paced, fluid set with collaborators Tim Harrison on piano and drummer Scott Neumann.
Eight of the nine tracks are Wade originals and his artfully crafted, spacious compositions conjure grooves and textures that make a big sound with out cluttering it. Jump for Joy is a straightforward, lilting waltz with an attractive melody and then The Prisoner shifts the ear in a different direction. A meditative melody is allowed to ring before an even momentum develops, implied more than stated and Wade’s singing resonant bass takes the pace up a gear. Apogee takes the fluid interaction further with a rubato melody that unfolds into a group conversation. Neumann’s drumming is a joy, never overwhelming, but adding colour and locked with his partners’ every move throughout. Harrison too, rings the changes. His melodic lyricism is given free rein on Valley and Stream and he rocks out on Twist in the Wind. They all swing out with a bit of a collective wink and a skip on Harold Arlen’s If Only I Had A Brain.
This doesn’t sound like a debut. Mark Wade’s Trio make committed, emotional music with a distinctive flavour. This one has got stuck in my playlist over the last month or so. Check it out.