I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of bassist Mark Wade’s debut album, Event Horizon. On it he has Tim Harrison on Piano and Scott Neumann on drums. I love piano trio music and keep being surprised at how different groups can stretch the format. Usually the piano player is the leader but in this case the bassist is at the helm. Not that you’d know, as Mark is not one for hogging the limelight.
The album opens with the appropriately upbeat Jump for Joy and this introduces us to the fluid, live sound of the trio. Mark brings out a wonderful tone from his bass; a full woody sound which he uses to great effect in the solos. My only grumble about the opening track is the fade. Why fade it?
The following tunes take us through beautiful chamber jazz (The Prisoner), tasteful use of space (Apogee), the almost funky riffing in Tossed and some lush bowing on the lovely Valley and Stream; a tune that felt like a suite. One of my favourites was Twist in the Wind, which I would love to see played live (if we’re lucky enough to get the trio in the UK). The penultimate track, Cold Spring, delivered on many levels and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day it becomes a standard and ends up with a lyric. To close the album the trio play their only cover (a refreshing surprise for a debut) with If Only I had a Brain. This, with its terrific swing, left me wanting to hear more.
Mark Wade’s group are well worth watching. I suspect a band (and a leader) that can produce a debut this accomplished have a lot more to offer.