Chris MondakBlank With ColourSummit Records

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Is the sound of Blank With Colour jazz with a touch of funk, or funk with a touch of jazz? The answer is in the eye—and ear—of the beholder. Recorded on analog in a single day (November 7, 2022) at Nashville’s Welcome to 1979 studio, the tunes on Blank With Colour draw on a rich palette that combines sophisticated musicianship with feel-good get-up-and-dance energy. 

For Blank With Colour, band leader, bassist, and composer Chris Mondak gathered some of Nashville’s top young musicians — Dan Hitchcock (sax), Jack Macklin (guitar), Ryan Brasley (drums), and Chris’s Nextgen Jazz Quartet band mate Gabe Feldman (keys), to play live in the studio, with Chris’s brother Ryan Mondak manning the controls. The session’s spirit, passion, and spontaneity shine on every track. 

Blank With Colours eight original compositions travel through multiple scenes, from the gritty simmering power of “Skunk Funk” to the reggae-tinged hues of “Walking in Sunshine” to the sly captivating funk of the award-winning track “Begetting” to the zestful “Wake Up” and the irrepressible closer “Everybody Knows.” 

On this his third CD, Chris Mondak also includes two covers on Blank With Colour, the first time he has done so. One is a lively instrumental take on fellow bassist Nick Lowe’s classic “Cruel to Be Kind.” The second finds guitarist Jack Macklin unleashing his inner George Benson on the José Feliciano composition “Affirmation.” The compositions and performances on Blank With Colour offer a powerful antidote to dark times and dreary days. Listening to the tracks, one shares the sparkling energy felt by the musicians that day in the studio, and experiences a welcome infusion of brightness and exuberance.
About Chris Mondak Composer and bassist Chris Mondak has called Nashville home since 2020. Born in Venezuela, raised in Florida and Illinois, and trained in Boston, Chris moved to Nashville soon after receiving his B.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Cecil McBee and Dave Holland. Chris has quickly become a mainstay on the burgeoning Nashville jazz scene, with regular performances at Rudy’s Jazz Room and other local venues, along with abundant studio work. Chris also teaches some of the area’s top young bassists at multiple area high schools. As a composer, what most distinguishes Chris Mondak’s works is their hooky, infectious quality. Comfortable writing in multiple jazz genres, Chris’s melodies pull listeners in and invariably get them humming along by tune’s end.

Many of Chris’s pieces exhibit either vibrant—even intense—energy, or a happy, care-free feel. Chris’s compositions have received two international awards—one in Italy in 2023 for “Begetting,” a tune on Blank With Colour, and one in China in 2019 for “Always Smiling,” which Chris recorded and performed during his stint with the Nextgen Jazz Quartet. Chris composed eight originals for Blank With Colour, all the tunes on his two earlier recordings, Glass Spheres (2022) and Eternal Youth (2019), plus contributions to recordings by the Nextgen Jazz Quartet (2019) and West of Staley (2015). 

A dynamic bassist and performer, Chris has amassed a great deal of time on the road, with two multi-week tours in China, and shows in Mexico, Panama, and over 20 U.S. states. In addition to playing with his own bands, Chris has performed with the Jazz Band of America, and with musicians including Wycliffe Gordon, Dave Douglas, Wayne Escoffery, Shelly Berg, Marvin Stamm, Jesus Molina, and Jeff Hamilton. Chris has played everywhere from dive bars on the Gulf Coast to Birdland, Carnegie Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center-Shanghai. 

When not performing live, Chris Mondak can often be found in the recording studio. In addition to his own recordings, Chris’s bass playing can be heard on CDs released by Evan Wright (2017, 2019, 2021), Shane Dylan (2018, 2019), Local Stereo (2022), and James Richardson (2023).