One-time bassist with guitar hero Pat Metheny amid his albums as a leader and first-call session duties, Mark Egan shines radiantly via his tunefully constructed fretless-bass lines and memorable compositions, here on his sixth album as a leader. Moreover, the bassist keenly bridges the gap between radio-friendly contemporary jazz-fusion and balls to the walls technical chutzpah with a set that should enjoy broad appeal.
The program is enamored by a superbly engineered audio process, which enhances the ensemble’s powerful presence. The musicians execute sinewy funk grooves and bustling unison phrases as Egan’s velvety notes, inject a bit of polish and glean into the various frameworks. The band enacts an optimistic vibe on "Truth Be Told," featuring Mitch Forman’s airy keys and Bill Evans’ edgy tenor sax solo. Throughout, Egan intersperses fluid phrasings and lyrical solos into segments where the musicians generate an in-the-pocket groove. Yet they mix it up during "Rhyme or Reason," as Evans and Forman whip matters into overdrive atop Vinnie Colaiuta’ polyrhythmic flurries. On this piece, the artists engage brisk, jazz-rock pulses and knotty unison choruses. In other regions of sound, they generate peppy themes with a few nods to the blues.
Egan is a supreme melody-maker, which is an asset that adds to the multihued flavor of this thoroughly entertaining endeavor. The ensemble occasionally launches into sizzling improvisational exercises, yet the main thrust is rooted within solid compositional form. It’s the antithesis to your typical soloing-heavy jazz-fusion fare. Egan and his estimable band-mates meld a touch of class with enviable chops and a focused group-centric approach.