IN THE YEARS FOLLOWING HIS STINT with the Pat Metheny Group [1977–1980], bassist Mark Egan established a rep as an uncommonly expressive fretless player with the group Elements and through a string of acclaimed solo outings. During the ’80s, Egan was also an integral part in the rhythm sections of the Gil Evans Orchestra and the Michael Franks band, both of which had him grooving more on fretted bass rather than singing lyrically upfront on fretless.
In more recent years, Egan has returned to the more functional role of groove player with the Bill Evans-Randy Brecker Soulbop band, Evans’ Soulgrass band, and the CTI All-Stars. That supportive quality is also apparent on Egan’s recent release Truth Be Told. A hardhitting funk-fusion project featuring longtime colleagues Evans on tenor and soprano saxes and Mitch Forman on keyboards, Egan’s latest as a leader is ignited by the presence of drummer extraordinaire Vinnie Colaiuta.
Far more volatile than his previous outing, 2007’s intimate and expansive trio project As We Speak, Truth Be Told has even gained significant airplay on jam band stations streaming online and on satellite radio, to the surprise of the 59-year-old bassist. “There’s a much more aggressive attitude here, closer in spirit to electric Miles Davis or Weather Report than anything I’ve done before. And that might come as a surprise to people who know me as more of a melodic, floating style player. But there’s another part of me that’s all about deep groove and really ‘going for it.’ And that sort of dichotomy in my playing is what I wanted to create as a backdrop on this project.”
HEAR HIM ON
Mark Egan, Truth Be Told [Wavetone, 2010]
Basses Fretted and fretless 5-string Pedulla MVP Mark Egan Signature
Live rig Various Eden amps and cabinets
Effects Korg AX-300 Toneworks
Strings D’Addario XL 170 nickel roundwounds
Recording Truth Be Told Millenia TD-1 mic preamp, Radial JD1 DI
Cables AudioQuest; “They’re very expensive— about $1,000—but I’ve A/B’d them and they really do make a tremendous difference.”