By Souvik Dutta
One of the premier electric bassists of contemporary jazz, Mark Egan has distinguished himself as an in-demand session player, valued sideman and respected leader in his own right. His distinctive fretless bass sound has graced countless jazz and pop albums as well as award winning movie and television soundtracks.
A charter member of the Pat Metheny Group, he has played on multi platinum-selling recordings by Sting, Arcadia and Joan Osborne and has also recorded with the likes of Roger Daltry, Sophie B. Hawkins, Marianne Faithfull, David Sanborn and John McLaughlin and was a member of the Gil Evans Orchestra for 13 years.
On his latest as a leader, the 2-CD set As We Speak, Egan stretches out in a wide open trio setting with jazz guitar great John Abercrombie and former Pat Metheny Group band mate and Elements co-founder Danny Gottlieb on drums. Recorded at his Electric Fields studio, Egan's latest on his own Wavetone Records label is an ambitious follow up to 2001's Freedom Town. Mark just returned from a highly successful European tour featuring John Abercrombie and Danny Gottlieb.
Souvik Dutta: Mark, Congrats on your new record. Beautiful and powerful compositions that sound that it comes from an ECM realm. Could you speak about the project and your concept?
Mark Egan: Thank you, Souvik. Yes, I think the record does come from an ECM influence and it also comes from a lot of other areas as well. In some ways it's more electric and more upfront than some of the ECM mixes and sounds. This was the way I heard it and mixed it with the great engineer Richard Brownstein. We've worked together on all my solo records, many of the Elements records, the group that I co-lead with drummer Danny Gottlieb, and other records I've produced. Richard has an amazing gift of organizing and bringing fourth distinctive and beautiful sound.
The concept behind this record was that for many years I've wanted to do a trio record, in particular with John Abercrombie and Danny Gottlieb. I've always enjoyed their playing in various groups and recordings. Danny Gottlieb and I always have such a great rapport with all of the various musical situations that we've been in as a rhythm section. We've been playing together for 35 years now. Danny and I first met at the University of Miami where we studied music under the direction of Jerry Coker and Whit Sidener.
I first met John Abercrombie in 1981 and we played together in New York at the club, Fat Tuesdays. At that time the event was called a guitar summit and many guitarists--Vic Juris, Chuck Loeb and John Abercrombie were featured. Also, when I was member of the Pat Metheney Group we toured with John and his band on an ECM tour of Japan and the US. Also on that tour were the bands Egberto Gizmonti and Nana vas Concelos. I really had the great opportunity listen to John on those tours for repeated nights. I always felt close to his music and wanted play and record with him.
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