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Chris Mondak: Blank With Colour

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Chris Mondak: Blank With Colour
Chris Mondak is a fine, NEC-trained bassist who works in a variety of genres. But this recording really has him in a secondary role, as part of the rhythm section of what must be a version of his working band. The band is good; funky from soft to shout, turn up the volume. Dan Hitchcock's lead sax voice is strong throughout, and Jack Macklin and Gabe Feldman work very well with him. The rhythm section is terrific and provides the support for some of Mondak's own persuasive writing, which comprises most of the recording. While the best chance is to catch the band in Nashville, Mondak has been on the road in the past, and with luck, he will be out there with this band sometime soon.

This is a most musical recording, the kind to get the listener to a better place. It is good for the soul and relaxing, but hardly a lullaby. Because some of the writing and playing is impressionistic, the music, and there is more than an hour here, almost feels as if it has a program. As the cover art suggests, it could be the soundtrack to a bright day after a snowfall, or, for that matter, any other pleasant experience that comes to mind.

"Skunk Funk" opens with a sax riff and bass break. Everyone eventually gets into the act. "Cruel to Be Kind" features keyboard and sax and some straight-ahead electric bass. "Begetting" is a sax statement; rhythmic back beat, nice keyboard and bass at the bottom. "Lofi" is a little more laid back, with relaxed keyboard. "Wake Up" is a straight 24-bar blues that gets the juices flowing and ends up cooking. "Walking on Sunshine" is a nice calypso that bounces along, dropping a few sly quotes here and there. "Affirmations" is music that gets a listener somewhere, anticipatory and bright, featuring really nice guitar work by Jack Macklin. "Complicated" is not really, going in a straight line from start to finish. "With You" is evocative too, reflective, after heading home from its opening triplets.

This is enjoyable, sophisticated, high-level playing. Mondak and Company deserve the wide audience they seem to get.

Track Listing

Skunk Funk: Cruel to Be Kind; Begetting; LowFi; WakeUp; Walking in Sunshine; Affirmation; Complicated; With You; Everybody Knows.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Blank With Colour | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Summit Records


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