505

Marc Wagnon: Earth is a Cruel Master

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Wagnon: Earth is a Cruel Master It took multi-instrumentalist Mark Wagnon an entire year to record and mix Earth is a Cruel Master, an engaging collection of original jazz-rock grooves with whirlwind melodic themes and robust improvisations. Known primarily as a vibraphonist, the New York-based Wagnon also plays drums, marimba, keyboards and various percussion instruments throughout the recording. Aided by guitarist Van Manakas, electric bassist Leo Traversa and, on a couple of tunes, upright bassist Danny Stone, the disc has the raw sound of a live band with the benefit of overdubbing and electronic embellishment.

Wagnon's compositions utilize a layering of complementary themes, incorporating the instrumentation at hand, mainly guitar and vibraphone, but at times bass and even drum set with vibrant backbeats that take on a melodic flair. As with much of the so-called fusion genre, Wagnon's music eschews traditional song forms in favor of compositions consisting of various sections, sometimes connected to one another as with the opening "Echo Star" and sometimes seemingly unconnected as with the almost danceable "Embarquement."

There's an exciting element of unpredictability throughout the recording with no one piece sounding alike. The deep-groove of the atmospheric "Osiris Pre-science," which gradually unfolds into an explosive medium for Wagnon and Manakas to improvise over, sits like a distinctly flavored course among the soulful, odd-metered funk of "Dark Matters" and the anxious intensity of "Backsheesh."

The loop-based, world music vibe of "Eye of the Skies: a Farewell" and the heavy-handed 6/8 pulse of "Light at the End" give Wagnon an opportunity to showcase his staggering technique on the vibes. His solos lines are fluid and full of fresh ideas. Equally impressive as a soloist is Manakas who creates an exuberant noise on the closing track "Selective Memories."

Earth is a Cruel Master is a first-rate release of creative, forward-thinking composing supported by spectacular musicianship.

Track Listing: Echo Star; Embarquement; Osiris Pre-science; Dark Matters; Backsheesh; Eye of the Skies: a Farewell; Light at the End; Selective Memories.

Personnel: Marc Wagnon: vibraphone, marimba, drums, percussion, keyboards; Van Manakas: guitar; Leo Traversa: electric bass; Danny Stone: upright bass.

Title: Earth Is A Cruel Master | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Buckyball Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Petite Afrique" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Tuesday Prayers" CD/LP/Track Review Tuesday Prayers
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "The Promise Of Happiness" CD/LP/Track Review The Promise Of Happiness
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "The Long Good Friday OST" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Good Friday OST
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.