Mark Adams

Asceticism: A Portrait of Jazz

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran

While the literal definition of "asceticism" involves the art of spiritual self-discipline, many in the larger culture see it in its religious sense of giving up some sort of pleasure. The piano virtuoso's exciting and gregarious recording shows an ivory command that fits the first and is about as far from the second as one could imagine. Impressing with a playful and melodic, elegant funk style reminiscent of Bob Baldwin and Kevin Toney, he's all joy on thumpy, elegant funk gems like "Der Grune Mann" and "Free From Freedom," which feature lively, busy arrangements and an obvious sense of traditional jazz. His commitment to tossing his straight-ahead influence into the pop mix is refreshing, but he's a bit too reliant in spots on spacy, dated-sounding synth lines. As a producer, he enjoys building productions with live strings that add a film score-like drama to songs like "Seeing in the Dark." Adams is also adept at gentle Brazilian and reggae rhythms. Time will tell if the veteran of the Roy Ayers experience will achieve solo stardom, but for the most part, he has all the tools.

blue highlight denotes track pick