Mark Wade Trio – Moving Day (2018)
The Mark Wade Trio’s last recorded statement was 2015’s Event Horizon. Moving Day, his 2018 follow-up, essentially picks up where that project left off and reaffirms why Wade was voted as one of the Top 10 bass players by DownBeat readers. The album is a collection of mostly Wade originals, based loosely around the theme of movement. Along for the ride again is the Mark Wade Trio: pianist Tim Harrison and drummer Scott Neumann. It’s obvious that they have played together for a while, as there is an unmistakable telepathy.
The title track is a perfect example of that telepathy as Harrison’s piano creates a feeling of movement, which is accelerated by Mark Wade’s double bass. In short order, Neumann’s ride cymbal and subtle snare propel “Moving Day” along. Harrison’s piano solo is elegantly playful and the song starts a wonderful eight-minute journey, which sets the tone for the album. Wade then provides a wondrous solo to further propel the song forward. It’s fascinating that Moving Day was recorded live in studio, in just a two-day period. The arrangements are thoughtful and the playing is first rate.
“Wide Open” is a hectic and fast-paced listen. Neumann effectively captures the chaos of forward movement, whether it be changing one’s locale or changing one’s life. Both Mark Wade and Tim Harrison match the drummer’s passion and precision, hitting on the reoccurring theme established by the pianist. Scott Neumann’s solo work is equally effective playing of Harrison’s cymbals and a punctuated by Wade. Wade’s solo seems to tie all the songs elements together before the song ends leaving the listener wanting just a taste more.
“The Bells” is more introspective. Here, Scott Neumann displays his delicate brush work while Harrison’s piano work offers an emotional counterpoint with its slow-yet-authoritative touch. Led by Wade, the pace quickens and all the parts fit together in perfect propulsive symmetry. Mark Wade’s bass solo stands out, as it makes a single vocal-like stand which is simply mesmerizing. Equally mesmerizing is the bell cymbal work of Neumann at the end.
“Another Night in Tunisia” effectively captures the frenzy of travel with its complex time signature changes and rapid forward motion. Halfway into the song, the trip becomes more relaxed and focused, leaving a lot of the frenzy behind. Wade’s solo is jaunty with anticipation and delight. The cover of “Autumn Leaves” initially seems out of place. Yet the song does represent travel, movement and transition. This version of the jazz staple is simply amazing as Wade, Harrison and Neumann engage in a delicate dance around the melody. Wade has made his mark and a composer and player, but here he show’s his skill as an arranger weaving complex harmonies into a a wonderfully colorful tapestry.
“The Quarter” brings a jaunty, fast paced New Orleans feel to the album. Wade’s solo is a perfect counter point to Harrison’s thematic piano and Neumann’s joyous snare work. the song is as moving as the theme implies which leave a relaxed and carefree smile on my face. The album closer, “In The Fading Rays of Sunlight” seems like a fitting end to the journey. The gorgeous melody, elegant piano and uplifting main theme all signal the end of a trip and a return to home. Mark Wade’s bass enters into a lovely dance with Tim Harrison’s acoustic piano while Scott Neumann provides firm buy nuanced guidance with his drums. The band dances in shadow and light here with convincing power and grace.
Wade’s mid song solo continues the main theme. Actually Wade propels the theme along. “In The Fading Rays of Sunlight is a perfect end to this stunning release. The song seems to bring “Moving Day” full circle, completing the welcome recorded return of the Mark Wade Trio.