CD REVIEW: Mark Wingfield - Proof of Light

Mark Wingfield - Proof of Light
(MoonJune Records MJR071, CD review by Mike Collins)

Guitarist Mark Wingfield is a seasoned musical adventurer. LondonJazz News’ Chris Parker was loud in his praise of a previous, wholly improvised, outing with Kevin Kastning (LINK) and this latest release finds Wingfield in the company of master drummer/ percussionist Asaf Sirkis and bass player Yaron Stavi whose credits include Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour. It’s a debut with New York label MoonJune Records whose list, as they put it, embraces a spectrum ‘with jazz at one end and rock at the other’.

The throbbing pulse of Mars Saffron bursts out of the speakers the second ‘play’ is clicked, landing the listener firmly in rock meets jazz territory but its not long before the ethereal, bending howl of the leader’s guitar leads the ear in other directions. Wingfield’s as likely to talk about Lester Bowie or Coltrane as an influence as he is a litany of guitarists and seeks to manipulate and sustain the guitar’s sound (as opposed to substitute a synth sound) in the quest for expressiveness and singing lines. The result is a distinctive, pitching bending, now wailing, now growling sound stretching out slow moving melodies over the hubbub of Sirkis’ drums and looped accompaniments. The moods vary and the themes and melodic lines hint at music from a myriad of cultures. After the high-energy opener and the spooky Restless Mountain, punctuated by thumping riffs, there are more flowing lyrical pieces like The Way to Etretat and A Conversation We Had. A high point is Voltaic. Distorting chords give way to a group frenzy with Sirkis and Wingfield trading blows whilst Stavi’s bass wriggles between them. The constant invention and commentary of Asaf Sirkis’ playing adds a real depth to this set.He’s at it again on Summer Night’s Story with a seething musical solo before Stavi stretches out with a singing melodic feature.

Mark Wingfield chose his partners well for this trio album. The three recorded the nine originals in two days and the result is full of energy and emotion. Fans of the continually expanding frontier of music blending rock, jazz and eclectic influences will want to have this album on repeat.

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