Despite the obvious alignment in terms of timing, circumstances and creation, this project didn't simply manifest itself in the moment. Mark Wade has always had a solo bass outing in his sights. He just didn't take firm aim and follow through until now. That belief in patience, ultimately, helped to yield rewards. Rather than work with a more-is-more mindset that less mature players might adopt, Wade uses his experience to guide the way on this visual album crafted during COVID-19 quarantine.
Creating videos for each of Songs From Isolation's five tracks, the bassist allows us to see how he stitched together his work with great skill. On "Hours Til Dawn" we observe his pizzicato passions and arco actions on acoustic bass working above electric underpinnings fixed to time. In "A Conspiracy of Lemurs," with a video playing on a cloning expansion and contraction of personalities while Wade covers all parts and adds percussive punctuations, things turn funky. And on "Nothing Like You" he's joined by his wife, vocalist Terri Leggio Wade, for a romance that rides high on sincerity and wardrobe changes.
The penultimate track, while playing to independence like what precedes it, stands apart. "Intents and Purposes" opens with Wade's glowing harmonics on electric bass set against his profound arco work. But it doesn't stay there. That's just the first of several sections in an episodic patchwork that holds attention from start to finish. Then Wade brings it all to a close with "Blues in Isolation," a number that grooves to the titular truth. Previewed in an online showcase for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music in Durban, South Africa in August of 2020 and released a little more than a month later on the Amp imprint, Songs From Isolation isn't under any form of lockdown. Wade's solo work is out there in the wider world now, lending more strength to his reputation as a first-class bassist.
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