One of the premier electric bassists of contemporary jazz, Mark Egan has distinguished himself over the past five decades with his distinctive fretless bass sound that has graced countless jazz and pop albums as well as award-winning movie and television soundtracks. An in-demand New York City studio musician who has played on multi-gold and platinum-selling recordings by Sting, Arcadia, Marc Cohn,GRP Christmas, Mecano and Joan Osborne, Egan has also recorded with a wide variety of artists from pop stars like Roger Daltrey, Sophie B. Hawkins, Marianne Faithfull, Judy Collins, Cyndi Lauper and Art Garfunkel to jazz notables like David Sanborn, John McLaughlin, John Abercrombie, Randy Brecker, Gato Barbieri, Freddy Cole, Jim Hall, Joe Beck, Pat Martino, Mark Murphy and Larry Coryell.

A charter member of the Pat Metheny Group (formed in 1977) and member of the Gil Evans Orchestra for 13 years, Egan has 14 albums as a leader to his credit and another 10 as a co-leader of Elements, the fusion band he formed in 1982 with his Pat Metheny Group bandmate, drummer Danny Gottlieb.

DPP_7350 (1)

Born in 1951 in Brockton, MA, Egan’s first instruments were trumpet and guitar, which he picked up at age 10 and continued to play through high school. He began playing bass at age 15 and later went to the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music as a trumpet student. He switched his major to electric and acoustic bass midway through the program and ended up taking private lessons with Don Coffman, Lucas Drew and Jaco Pastorius, also playing in a band with the future Weather Report bassist called Bakers Dozen, led by the jazz multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan and pianist Vince Lawrence DiMaggio. As Egan told For Bass Players Only:

“I had been hearing about Jaco through the grapevine, since we were both in the south Florida area. Ira Sullivan had spoken of Jaco and the first time we met was at a Bakers Dozen rehearsal. We split the bass book along with a very fine acoustic bassist, Don Mast. Jaco brought a very large Sony reel-to-reel tape machine with headphones and played a recording of Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders. That was it for me. It was revolutionary and I knew that I was standing next to an innovator.”DPP_7426

At the time, I was also very inspired by acoustic bassists Dave Holland, Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, Scott LaFaro, Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Jimmie Garrison and Stanley Clarke as well as Electric bassists James Jameson, Chuck Rainey, Joe Osborne, Jerry Jemmott and Michael Henderson.

In 1975, after graduating from the University of Miami, Egan toured with Eumir Deodato, the Pointer Sisters and recorded with David Sanborn (on 1977’s Promise Me the Moon). He was part of the Pat Metheny Group until 1980, appearing on 1978’s Pat Metheny Group and 1979’s American Garage.

With the group’s drummer, Danny Gottlieb, he formed the jazz fusion band Elements, which also featured saxophonist Bill Evans and Clifford Carter- keyboards, recording and touring through the 1990s. During the 1980s and 1990s, Egan was also part of the Gil Evans Orchestra, appearing on Live at Sweet Basil, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Farewell and Bud and Bird. During that period he also appeared on such recordings as Stan Getz’s Billy Hightstreet Samba, Jim Hall’s Concerto de Aranjuez, Michael Franks’ Objects of Desire and Skin Dive, Arcadia’s So Red the Rose, Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun, Mike Stern’s Upside Downside, Dave Liebman’s Homage to John Coltrane, Alex DiGrassi’s Altiplano, Tuck & Patti’s Tears of Joy, Special EFX’s Double Feature, Laurie Anderson’s Strange Angels and Toninho Horta’s Moonstone.

Egan debuted as a leader with 1985’s Mosaic and followed with a string of successive recordings including 1988’s A Touch of Light, 1991’s Beyond Words, 2001’s Freedom Town and 2006’s As We Speak, his superb trio outing with drummer Gottlieb and guitarist John Abercrombie. On 2010’s Truth Be Told, he reunited with longtime colleagues Mitch Forman on keyboards, Bill Evans on saxophones and Roger Squitero on percussion. “Mitch is one of the first players that I met when I came to New York in 1976,” Egan recalled. “And Bill and I have a longstanding history that goes back to loft sessions with Steve Grossman in 1981 and shortly thereafter to the first Elements recording.”

Through the ‘90s, Egan played on recordings by trumpeter Lew Soloff, guitarist Joe Beck, vocalist Mark Murphy, the Who frontman Roger Daltrey, saxophonists Donald Harrison and Gato Barbieri, pop singers Joan Osborne, Marianne Faithfull, Sohie B. Hawkins and Vanessa Williams and Broadway musical star Bernadette Peters. He continued his prolific output as a session man into the new millennium by playing on albums by keyboardist Jason Miles, guitarist Larry Coryell, pop star Cyndi Lauper, Brazilian singer Flora Purim, Broadway musical star Brian Stokes Mitchell, smooth jazz sax star Steve Cole and Hindu devotional singer Krishna Das. He also appeared on several recordings led by his Elements bandmates Bill Evans and Danny Gottlieb. Mark also recorded on the Coen Brothers’ movie “The Big Labowski”.

Egan’s passion and visionary approach to contemporary instrumental music led to the formation in 1992 of his Wavetone Records. With 26 releases to date, including all of Egan’s recorded output along with recordings by guitarists Jeff Ciampa and Joe Beck and three releases by Elements, Wavetone has established itself as an innovative independent record label, dedicated to discovering, producing and promoting the finest in contemporary instrumental music. Many of those Wavetone outings were done at Egan’s Electric Fields, a state-of-the-art recording studio in New Canaan, CT, designed by the highly acclaimed acoustical architect Francis Manzella.