Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Mark Elf: Swingin’

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This New York-based guitarist makes no bones about being a dyed-in-the-wool bebopper.

Considerably well polished in terms of performance and sound, the material on Swingin’ was recorded in the middle of last year. Powered by bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Winard Harper (pianist Aaron Goldberg appears on two tracks), Elf turns in an impressive performance. Whether it’s the result of the more controlled environment or five years of refinement, here his playing grooves mightily, witnessed by the blistering solos on “Lazy Bird” and his originals “Blowins’ for the Cohen’s” [sic] and “HOV Lane.” Relief is provided by the Elf original “Indubitably,” a Latin number graced with some gorgeous melodic work, and “Manhattan,” a chord-melody solo with a moving bass line that is a bit mechanical-sounding but still has some nice moments. Fine work all around by a player who is in the enviable position of being able to do whatever he wants through his own record label. Here’s a suggestion, though: Get a literate friend to read your liner notes before they go into print.