110

Mark Elf: Dream Steppin'

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Durable Bop-oriented Guitar from New York.

On the music scene since the mid 1970s, guitarist Mark Elf's career shifted into a higher gear when he began recording for his own Jen Bay records in the late 1980s. Since that time, he has spun out disc after disc receiving wide airplay. Chief among these are 2000's studio effort Over the Airways (Jen Bay 0006) and the in-concert Live at Smalls (Jen Bay 0007). The latter of these recordings is a veritable clinic for Be Bop guitar using Bop anthems as the teaching vehicle. Elf's own minor blues "109 West" rests in two versions as the performance centerpiece, betraying Elf's serpentine talent.

Mark Elf would be one of jazz's best-kept secrets were it not for his drive and fortitude. Where Elf has perhaps lacked major label support and exposure, he has made up for it with tireless touring and self-promotion. This has largely paid off for Elf as it has enabled him to record what material he wished with no outside dictation. The result for the listener is a widely varied catalog of Bop-drenched originals and standards that swing with a gentle (and sometimes frantic) assurance.

Elf's new Dream Steppin' is heavier on Elf originals when compared to his other recordings. He has two originals based on standards (the title track based on "You Stepped Out of a Dream" and "Loved Again" based on "If I Love Again") and several Elf-forte blues (the minor-key "Griff's Riff" and standard "Blues to the Left," and almost calypso "Pregnant Chad Blues"). Elf includes his necessary solo guitar pieces, the first a very Joe Pass-like "America" and a slick "Have You Met Miss Jones."

Drummer Lewis Nash, who had recorded previously with the guitarist, most notably on Elf's release A Minor Scramble, joins Elf. On bass is Neal Minor, who previously recorded with Elf on Live At Small's, Trickynometry, and A Minor Scramble. Their respective contributions to the current disc are considerable in both the accompaniment and solo arenas. The total package here is the most effective Bop-driven guitar trio performing. Elf has a facility making all he plays enjoyable to listen to and consider.


Track Listing:

Dream Steppin'; Too Marvelous For Words; Loved Again; Griff's Riff; Oye DNA; Ballad 2000; Rhymin' For Simon; Blues To The Left; America; Cheek To Cheek; Pregnant Chad Blues; Pregnant Chad Blues (Alternate Fragment). (Total Time: 59.39).

Personnel:

Mark Elf: Guitar; Lewis Nash: Drums; Neal Minor: Bass.

Title: Dream Steppin' | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Jen Bay Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Expansions  Live" CD/LP/Track Review Expansions Live
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.