Mark Wingfield is not the best representative when you want to write a review that is based upon progressive rock music and closely related sub genres. So, let's see this as a sort of challenge for the open minded reader who can enjoy a sidestep towards jazz rock with the guitar as leading instrument. With Proof Of Light British guitarist Mark Wingfield has released his first album for Moonjune Records, ending up as the sixth in his solo repertoire.
On Proof Of Life the line-up is kept to the basics, a power trio you might say. Mark is accompanied by bass player Yaron Stavi, who has played with Phil Manzanera and David Gilmour and the experienced drummer Asaf Sirkis, who has Larry Coryell , Jeff Berlin and John Abercrombie on his palmares.
As a guitarist Mark Wingfield is quite extraordinary; not the regular player, even for jazz and fusion. Where most jazz guitarists get their inspiration from colleagues from an earlier era, Mark at one point stopped listening to other guitarists and went on to focus more on brass sections and vocals. Here he found the inspiration for his guitar playing. Songs that represent this special way of playing are opener Mars Saffron, Summer Night's Story and The Way To Etretat. During these compositions Mark blends the traditional way of jazz and fusion with his effect laden guitar sound. Listening to other tunes, good old jazz take the lead, emphasis on the co-operation between the bass and his guitar, while the playful drums keeps playing underneath. Koromo's Tale is a nice sample where the old school jazz keeps on going while a smooth guitar sound seems to last endlessly and finally emerges from the background. The album's title track has been saved for last, Proof Of Light has some Allan Holdsworth influences, like there are in most of his compositions, but he never copies the all-time master. Mark just adds his own extra element, therefore creating a renewed sound of his own.
As a guitar player Mark Wingfield is very inventive, creating something fresh in an original style. Any jazz rock and fusion aficionado certainly will embrace this album, but I am afraid the regular progressive rock fan will have their doubts about the challenging sound of Marks guitar.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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