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Event Review: Mark Elf
The Ryles, Cambridge, Mass, Mary 26, 2006
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
2006-06-18
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Artist: Mark Elf
Venue: Ryles, Cambridge, Mass
Date: May 26, 2006
Genre: Jazz
Website: www.jenbayjazz.com

After a health-related hiatus, Jazz radio favorite Mark Elf returned to the Boston area for an intimate night of song and story. Backed by the babbling bass of Marshall Wood and the ruffling traps of Bob Savine, Elf brought his trademark leather cap, mustache, and well-considered note choices to an audience that included fellow fret-man John Stein and other area Jazz notables.

Opening with a light-footed "Stompin' at the Savoy," Elf was given pause for a moment by a chatty table, but quickly returned to form with a series of smoky runs. Speaking of “smoke,” Elf’s multi-tempoed rendition of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” was hot indeed, burning from angular explorations to an all-harmonic recapitulation that cut through its title with clear bell tones. Picking up his bari-guitar (actually a bass with two extra strings) for “The Deception Blues” from his latest album, “Liftoff,” Elf and co. spun through Kenny Durham’s “Philly Twist” before winding down with a wound-up exploration of rhythm and key.

By set’s end, it was clear that Elf was back and that is was good to have him so.


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