Mark Egan, Cross Currents, Wavetone ***1/2

Last reviewed in these pages as a sideman on Linley Hamilton's impressive Ginger's Hollow this couldn't stylistically be more different for Mark Egan as it's more jazz-rock 1970s type fusion than the hard bop treatments found on Hamilton's album. …

Published: 14 Jan 2024. Updated: 44 days.

Last reviewed in these pages as a sideman on Linley Hamilton's impressive Ginger's Hollow this couldn't stylistically be more different for Mark Egan as it's more jazz-rock 1970s type fusion than the hard bop treatments found on Hamilton's album. Egan is in trio formation with guitarist Shane Theriot and drummer Shawn Pelton and you get plenty of rhythmical push and pull on these originals that have an Americana tilt at times beginning with the hoedown quality of 'Ponchatrain' and funky motion of 'Cross Currents'. The meat of the album is centred around 'Big Sky,' 'Pocket Call' and the Mark Knopler-like moods found on 'Sunflower'. More laidback than fiery in nature, Egan proves himself once again one of the most thoughtfully inventive of bass guitarists. And if you yearn for the sound of the Pat Metheny Group of which he was a founder member you will find plenty here to enjoy particularly the beautiful 'Big Sky' which comes closest to that unique spirit, time and place.

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Vanisha Gould and Chris McCarthy, Life's a Gig, Fresh Sound New Talent ***1/2

Intimate, softly unfurling vocals and duetting piano is the concept behind Life's a Gig for the main part with a little viola added on a few tracks. While pianist Chris McCarthy is familiar to readers of these pages down the years Vanisha Gould …

Published: 14 Jan 2024. Updated: 44 days.

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Intimate, softly unfurling vocals and duetting piano is the concept behind Life's a Gig for the main part with a little viola added on a few tracks. While pianist Chris McCarthy is familiar to readers of these pages down the years Vanisha Gould isn't - she is a singer influenced by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone among many others who came to New York approaching a decade ago from Simi Valley in California. Classics certainly find a place on the album and you can hear Holiday's influence on her voice a good deal. The duo have been playing together some seven years and certainly their strong rapport shows. The only track choice we didn't like so much was the cover of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene', more the song in the context than anything else. But Gould's lyrics on 'Aisha' set to McCoy Tyner's Together album melody work well and her strength as a writer certainly emerges elsewhere on her own 'Fall in Love With Me In Fall' begun by one of McCarthy's best passages on the whole album. With Valentine's Day just around the corner Life's a Gig seems ideal for jazz radio stations looking for new treatments in the classic mould - and a voice that becomes more persuasive with each play.