160

Mark Elf: Swingin'

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count

Mark Elf breaks new ground on his Jen Bay studio follow-up to Live at Smalls.

New York plectrist Mark Elf has been producing solid, bop-oriented music on his Jen Bay Records for the past 13 years. His playing style can be described as spherical. His tone is roundly polished and his playing is deliberately cyclical. His talent is virtuosic without being particularly technical or flashy. His most recent recordings have been characterized by an evolution in Elf's style manifested by his solidly swinging vision.

Mark Elf's chosen format for his last several discs has been the guitar trio. This has proven to be a durable set-up for Elf, who excels in the wide-open spaces of the small chamber orchestra. These last discs breakdown as follows:

  • New York Cats (Jen Bay 005, 1999)- Elf is joined by drummer Dennis Mackeral and bassist Jay Leonhart for this festive recital of original and standard tunes.
  • Over The Airwaves (Jen Bay 006, 1999)- Trapset expert Ralph Peterson replaces Dennis Mackeral on this upbeat, bluesy reading that features some wonderfully rambunctious blues and standards.
  • Live At Smalls (Jen Bay 007, 2000)- This is pure Be Bop/Hard Bop. Front and center are Horace Silver's "Quicksilver" and Monk's 52ndStreet Theme", along with Kenny Dorham's "The Theme". Elf's own minor blues, "109 West" rocks with confidence.

Swingin' finds Elf in his typically tasteful mainstream mood with the caveat that he is testing new harmonic waters with the inclusion of John Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" as well as his own "HOV Lane." Elf adds a jaunty little skip to the disc with the nuclear trill of "Gambinie's Bambinies". The very able talents of Winard Harper on Drums and Robert Hurst on bass, with a couple of cameos by pianist Aaron Goldberg support Elf.

With all of this talent in tow, Elf sets off with the same deliberate, laid-back temperament that has characterized his past recordings. The result has been consistently excellent small ensemble recording and this disc is no exception. His past recordings have also showcased Elf in a solo guitar setting and for Swingin', he executes a walking "Manhattan" that just plain swings.


Track Listing: I Won't Dance; Indubitably; Lazy Bird; Gambinie's Bambinies; All Of You; Waltz For Wilke; Hey There; Middle Of The Night; Blowins' For The Cohen's; HOV Lane; Manhattan; It Might As Well Be Spring. (Total Time: 57:41)

Personnel: Mark Elf: Guitar; Robert Hurst: Bass; Winard Harper: Drums; Aaron Goldberg: Piano.

| Record Label: Jen Bay Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Acoustically Speaking" CD/LP/Track Review Acoustically Speaking
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!