“A first-class bassist” – All About Jazz (U.S.)“Mark Wade’s lyrical narrative style evokes memories of masterpieces by the greatest jazz legends.” – Jazz Fun (Germany)
“The band dances in shadow and light here with convincing power and grace.” – Something Else (UK)
Modern jazz composer and bassist Mark Wade is open to appreciating and co-creating great music in all its forms, and clearly not limited by genre. True Stories, his fourth album, shows the breadth of his musicality and inventive compositional style. Eight original tracks (and one cover) were inspired by a wide range of influences, drawing on themes from composers such as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and Igor Stravinsky. The result is a unique expression of jazz linking past to present.
Wade’s critical success has led to him being named one of the top bassists of the year for five of the last six years in the Downbeat Magazine Reader’s Poll. He received international acclaim for his trio with the 2015 recording Event Horizon on Edition 46 Records and the 2018 follow up Moving Day on AMP Music & Records. In 2020 he launched a unique solo project – a visual album. Debuted online from the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music in Durban, South Africa, Songs from Isolation was released worldwide on AMP Music & Records. It features acoustic and electric bass and the plethora of sounds those instruments can create. The tunes are accompanied by music videos created by the bassist. (His camera and editing skills had blossomed during New York City’s COVID-19 lockdown.)
That sonic and technological exploration was a fascinating prelude to his next project. True Stories is a modern jazz compendium inspired by a lifetime of listening – a leap forward fueled by looking back. The album features long-time Mark Wade Trio pianist Tim Harrison and drummer Scott Neumann. It is released in 2022 by Amp Music & Records and available from fine retailers everywhere.
Michigan born, Wade moved to New Jersey as a child. He began his musical journey by teaching himself to play electric bass at age 14. At New York University, renowned bassist Mike Richmond encouraged him to take up acoustic bass for jazz and to hone bow technique and sight-reading abilities. That also enabled him to play European classical music. In 1997 he earned a B.A. in music with a concentration in jazz.
Remaining in NYC, Wade has since performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, The Iridium and Birdland. He is a former artist in residence at Flushing Town Hall and tours in North America and Europe. He has played with jazz notables James Spaulding, Eddie Palmieri, Conrad Herwig, Harry Whitaker, Stacey Kent, Peter Eldridge, Don Byron and Jimmy Heath, and is a member of the Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra. On the classical side, he has appeared with the Key West Symphony, Orchestra of the S.E.M./Janacek Philharmonic (Czech Republic) at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and performed with Orchestra of the Bronx and Bronx Opera.
Wade directs New Music Horizons, which promotes the work of emerging jazz and classical composers. Concert sites include the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Flushing Town Hall, The Clemente cultural center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Sunnyside Community Services in Queens and Art House Astoria. He also serves as artistic director for Art in the Park and the Annapolis Jazz & Roots Festival in Maryland. Formerly a teaching artist with the New York Pops, he has been on the jazz faculty at Lehigh University since 2017.
Track 1, “I Feel More Like I Do Now” is a modern jazz piece in multiple time signatures. Composed by Mark Wade, it was inspired by Miles Smiles, the first jazz album he ever bought. Wade aimed to capture some of the inventive spirit evident in Miles Davis’s great quintet recordings from the 60s. “Falling Delores” on Track 2 is credited to Mark Wade and Wayne Shorter. It combines two Wayne Shorter tunes with an original theme by Wade. Track 3 is “The Soldier and the Fiddle.” Although inspired by Igor Stravinsky‘s “The Soldier’s Tale,” this Wade original doesn’t take specific melodic themes from Stravinsky but borrows his technique of supplying a steady march-like rhythm in the bass while other instruments move around it shifting meters. Track 4, In The Market,” is a Wade/Zawinul/Shorter creation – a mashup of themes from the iconic Weather Report album Black Market, especially borrowing from “Herandnu” and “Black Market.” Only at the conclusion, after many twists and turns, is the material presented in its original form. Track 5, “Piscataway Went That-a-Way,” is a quirky blues in D flat. The Mark Wade/Fred Hersch tune expands the theme from Hersch’s “Swamp Thing.” While driving, Wade passed the exit for Piscataway, N.J. when “Swamp Thing” came on the radio. He named the tune in honor of that moment.
A shift from odd meters can be found on Track 6. “A Simple Song” by Mark Wade/Frank Kimbrough is written in 4/4. The late pianist and composer Frank Kimbrough was Wade’s teacher at NYU. The tune’s sections of metered and unmetered statements were a hallmark in much of Frank’s music. Tracks 7 & 8 are “Song with Orange & Other Things – Parts 1 and 2.” The first part is a Wade original meant to sound like something Mingus would have penned. The second part (Track 8) is a tune that Mingus actually did compose entitled “Song with Orange.” Track 9, “At the Sunside,” is a Mark Wade/Mikael Godee composition. The first few notes are from “Solokvist” from well-known Swedish jazz ensemble CORPO led by Mikael Godee. Wade shared a tour with the group in 2018 in Belgium and France and has fond memories of their time on the road.
True Stories was produced by Mark Wade and recorded at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon, New York, in May of 2021. It was engineered by Ryan Streber and mixed and mastered by Frank Fagnano in Ramsey, New Jersey, in June/July 2021. Liner notes are by Sammy Stein of Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK.