152

Mark Elf: Liftoff

By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist Mark Elf has been recording since 1986, and on Liftoff he continues to amaze. All but two of his dozen sessions have been on his own Jen Bay label. Athough Elf usually appears in a guitar/bass/drums format, he also includes piano on a few of these recordings.

Such is the case on Liftoff, where he joins pianist David Hazeltine, drummer Peter Washington, bassist Lewis Nash, and (on one track) percussionist Daniel Sadownick. Over the years, I've heard most of Elf's albums and admired his energy, technique and devotion to bop guitar.

Elf is one of the finest plectrists keeping the influences of bebop guitar alive. His quicksilver fingering harkens back to the work of Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow. The title tune, "Liftoff," is based upon the chord changes of John Coltrane's "Countdown," and Elf treats the composition as a challenge. Similarly, another original composition, "Deception Blues," is also based upon a "Countdown" variation and is so titled because of the chord sequencing. On this tune, as well as "How Low Can You Go," Elf uses a baritone guitar (more popularly known as a six-string bass guitar) which is of his own construction and copyright.

He also has a fine way with standards. He celebrates the Bob Hope theme "Thanks For the Memory" and adds a mid-tempo bounce to "I've Never Been in Love Before." "Chuy's Challenge" is a full-tilt swinger with a Latin touch (thanks to percussionist Daniel Sadownick). On this track the guitar and piano solos are inspiring.


Track Listing: Liftoff; Thanks For the Memory; Deception Blues; Chuy's Challenge; I've Never Been In Love Before; How Low Can You Go; Fundingsland Waltz; Left Hand Corner; Deception Blues; Liftoff (Alternate Take).

Personnel: Mark Elf: guitars; David Hazeltine: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Daniel Sadownick: percussion (4).

Title: Liftoff | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Jen Bay Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Stage 'N Studio" CD/LP/Track Review Stage 'N Studio
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "A Home In Between" CD/LP/Track Review A Home In Between
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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