Marco Marconi & Mark Wade live @ Prima

Saturday, 8 February, 2020 was the night that the Prima Jazz Club hosted Marco Marconi, Mark Wade and Emiliano Caroselli for what would turn out to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening of piano trio live jazz.

As you can see from the ticket, Jazzmatters.net, together with Annie’s Jazz, invited Marco Marconi and Mark Wade to play the first event at Prima Jazz in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Mark Wade is a New York City based bass player who was in this country for a week and this event was the fourth of four gigs that had been arranged with Marco Marconi. I was keen to be at the event not just to support a new jazz club but also to meet Mark, whose album Moving Day I had reviewed last October.

You and the Night and the Music was the first tune played with each of the trio getting an early opportunity to solo. I particularly liked the way that Mark Wade used the full range of his double bass, from top to bottom and back again, and the distinct, musical relationship between Marco Marconi on piano and Emiliano Caroselli on drums.

F.M.P.O.V., a Marconi penned tune from his latest album release New Roads (on order at the time of writing), was a very lively number with a ragtime quality to it. The piano playing was a joy to both hear and watch. The bass playing, again, was lively and assured with the full range of the instrument being employed to express the melody of this terrific tune. The bass solo was punctuated by precision placed single notes from the piano. The drummer and the pianist playing terrific call and response phrases a wonderful ensemble piece fully appreciated by the audience.

We were then treated to a waltz with The Dr. Is In. The beautifully lyrical piano playing had a wistful quality to it picked up by Mark Wade’s bass playing all underpinned by some fine drumming from Emilliano. This was followed by a classical piece of music, played by Marco, before we heard its jazz counterpart in Mark Wade’s Cakewalk. Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite No. 6 known as The Golliwog’s Cakewalk and was played by Marco Marconi (the first time he had done this at a jazz concert) in order for the audience to hear the inspiration between what had been written by Debussy and what had been written by Mark. I really enjoyed this classical interlude and the jazz piece that followed.

For me, the standout tune of this first set was Charlie Parker’s Ornithology. Mark Wade introduced the tune but when the trio started to play I did not recognize what I was hearing. The tune I expected to hear only cam through as the piece progressed, this was clearly Parker’s tune but it had the fingerprints of an arranger (re-arranger?) all over it: thank you Mr Marconi. The first set ended with a John Coltrane number opening with a piano solo which got to a point just where you thought the trio should come together and they did. This rounded out the sound adding depth to the tune until a drum solo mellowed everything out before building to a terrific solo loved by the audience.

The second set opened with the beautiful Nostalgia, a tune written by Marco Marconi and played by Marco and Mark as a duet. Nostalgia had a film score quality to it given poignancy by Mark’s bowed bass playing.

This tune clearly meant a lot to Marco and this was palpable to anyone in the room, which was silent as the music played.

Another wonderfully played waltz followed before moving on to Thelonius Monk’s Well You Needn’t. This number was similar to the Ray Bryant Trio version of the tune but Marco was certainly channelling his inner Monk credentials and together with Mark and Emiliano, showing just how much fun a jazz trio can have on a bandstand.

For Marco is a tune written for Marco Marconi by Mark Wade. I have no idea when this tune was written but it sounded both unfamiliar and familiar at the same time: how is that even possible? And as with so much of this evening’s performance the trio played like a tight-knit unit belying the short amount of time they have played together (it has been two years since Mark and Marco last played together).

The final tune of the evening was At The Sunside, which gave the band a last opportunity to show their soloing abilities as well as their combined skills as a trio. Although it is Mark’s and Marco’s names all over the promotion of the evening this was very much a three man performance with drummer Emiliano Caroselli playing his own part to the full. This is a line-up I hope we will get to see and hear more of and who very much deserved the encore call from the audience at Prima Jazz Club.

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