Washington, D.C., reared drummer Mark Prince’s extensive sideman resume is firmly entrenched within jazz, pop and rock circles amid a six-year stint with ace modern jazz pianist Andy Milne. On his debut effort as a leader, the drummer conveys a great deal of musicality while zooming in on the compositional aspects while maintaining the various flows with a keen sense of the dynamic.
A largely affable affair, Prince’s musical canvas covers jazz-fusion, contemporary jazz, modern jazz and pop. It’s a well-rounded jaunt, owing to the artist’s comprehensive skill-set that includes a collaboration with world-renowned flautist James Newton for a ballet score titled Crossroads," to complement many other genre-hopping sojourns. Here, Prince and his band-mates pursue breezy harmonic overtures atop sprightly swing vamps and firm backbeats. Yet they kick up a minor storm during "Abena’s Last Stand," where the drummer lays out a pliant framework for soprano saxophonist David Merlin-Jones and guitarist Alvin White’s edgy jazz-rock style riffing.
Prince produces radio friendly works, most noticeably on "The Healing," which features David J. White’s dark flutes lines and Federico Gonzalez’ crisp, Fender Rhodes progressions. In other spots, the musicians execute perky Latin grooves and mood-evoking balladry. Consequently, Prince doesn’t engage any nouveau musical turf. But many of his comps hold up rather nicely upon repeated listens. He sort of bridges the gap between styles while seamlessly morphing a serious depiction of the jazz element with appealing arrangements and blithe grooves.