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Mark Elf: Glad to Be Back

On Glad to Be Back (Jen Bay), mustachioed merry-maker Mark Elf returns from a bout with cancer and a relatively long three-year hiatus, Elfinly speaking, with his enviable skills on the archtop in top form and no surprises in store. These 11 tunes are what we expect from Elf: polite, finger-snapping bop for wine-sippin’ Upper West Side types. Not the hippest bag in jazzdom, but stuff like “Elfin’s Pace,” a madcap run on Trane’s “Giant Steps,” still satisfies like the stuff of a ’60s Prestige side.

Pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash comprise a supporting cast that matches Elf’s fleet fingers and pull the music out of the box by supplying enough edgy accents to keep even oft-told stories such as “Falling in Love With Love” and “Alfie” interesting.

Originally Published