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Mark Egan | Direction Home

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Direction Home

by Mark Egan

Contemporary jazz bassist and composer Mark Egan has released his 8th recording as a leader on Wavetone Records in a dynamic trio setting featuring master drummer Danny Gottlieb and brilliant pianist Mitch Forman.
Genre: Jazz: Progressive Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Summer Fun
4:55 $0.99
2. Small Town Blues
4:30 $0.99
3. Mountain People
6:59 $0.99
4. After the Storm
7:06 $0.99
5. After Math
4:45 $0.99
6. Direction Home
4:57 $0.99
7. Jungle Walk
4:31 $0.99
8. Gratitude
5:19 $0.99
9. The Path Home
2:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Electric Bassist Mark Egan Reunites with Drummer Danny Gottlieb and Pianist Mitchel Forman on Direction Home

Bass trio project to be released on Wavetone Records

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 Biography 2015

Since touring and recording in the late ‘70s as a member of Pat Metheny Group, Egan’s ability to groove, perfectly complement the music in any situation and solo in highly expressive fashion has made him one of the most in-demand bass players on the international music scene. While racking up credits with the Gil Evans Orchestra, saxophonists Steve Grossman, Stan Getz, Sonny Fortune and Bill Evans, vocalist Michael Franks, guitarists Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Alex De Grassi, John Abercrombie, Chuck Loeb and Vic Juris as well as such pop stars as Sting, Joan Osborne, Sophie B. Hawkins, Roger Daltrey and the Duran Duran off-shoot group Arcadia, Egan also went about documenting his singular fretless bass guitar voice in a series of recordings as a leader, beginning with his 1985 bass manifesto, Mosaic (which both Gottlieb and Forman appeared on). He and Gottlieb, who were schoolmates during the early ‘70s at the University of Miami, formed the group Elements in 1982. Egan continues to play with a Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra reunion band led by keyboardist Pete Levin.

Born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1951, Egan began his musical studies on trumpet at the age of 10, mainly through the influence of his father, who was an avid player. He continued to play the trumpet through high school in jazz bands, R&B groups and the high school orchestra before picking up the electric bass at age 16. Egan subsequently enrolled at the University of Miami School of Music as a trumpet player, under the direction of Jerry Coker and Whit Sidener, and studied privately with the late, great Jaco Pastorius, whose influence remains with him to this day. “When I heard Jaco play it made me aware of what could be acheived on the electric bass,” says Egan. “Jaco was an innovator and to be in his presence was uplifting and inspiring during those early years.” While in Florida, Mark performed with many of Miami’s talented players including the multi instrumentalist, Ira Sullivan.
In 1975 Mark formed a band with fellow University of Miami students Clifford Carter (keyboards), Hiram Bullock (guitar), Billy Bowker (drums) and Phyllis Hyman (vocals). They came to New York in 1976 and soon afterward Egan hooked up with the Pointer Sisters, Deodato and David Sanborn before joining Pat Metheny in 1977 along with drummer Danny Gottlieb. Together they recorded the influential Metheny albums Pat Metheny Group (1978) and American Garage (1980). It was through this association that Mark would later team up with Gottlieb to form the band Elements, an uncompromising, genre-bending group that has 13 recordings to date and has toured in over 27 countries.
“This is a reunion of the spirits to get back together with Danny and Mitch and record some fresh music,” says Egan of his collaborations with his colleagues on 2014’s About Now and 2015’s Direction Home. “I’ve always enjoyed that chemistry within the trio”, says the bassist-composer. “The music always flows and there’s so much creative interplay. The challenge is keeping it focused and maintaining the continuity from song to song. That process is seamless with Danny and Mitch since they’re such great musicians with creative sensibilities.”
Direction Home is scheduled for a March 2015 release on Egan’s Wavetone Records label.



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