Woodwind instrumentalist Mark Hollingsworth has a wide portfolio that has taken him from composing saxophone, clarinet and flutes parts for a number of affluent recording artists like Luther Vandross and U2 to playing music featured in films and television shows. Hollingsworth’s style varies from cocktail, Cajun, smooth, and contemporary jazz to a ‘70s jazz-pop revival. Whether Hollingsworth is playing a gentle ballad or a jumping Southern jive, his chords have dance movements that cause your feet to move and your hips to sway and shake. His second release Chasing The Sun are original songs written and produced by Hollingsworth. He incorporates classy piano and wicked organ dirges composed by Curtis Brengle, showy trumpet whirls by Bill Armstrong, and the bold convexed notes of the trombone played by Nick Lane. The rhythm section by drummer Sinclair Lott, bassist Bart Samolis, and percussionist Brian Kilgore keeps the movements stimulating with an undercurrent of organic beats.
Hollingsworth travels through a gamut of jazz favorites from a revival jazz feel in tracks like "A Higher Piano Intro" and "High Velocity" fashioning a contemporary version of ‘70s jazz-tinged pop, to playing a stylish Southern-Cajun jazz style on tunes like "Spice Of Life" and "Crawfish Pie." If that isn’t enough, Hollingsworth and trombone player Nick Lane indulge in an animated interplay on the track "Doing My Own Thing," with chord notations that have a comical ministration relatable to fun body movements. It is like music you expect to hear as a backdrop for a cartoon or a comedy skit. The horn combinations are adorable and very likeable and like much of the album, the music is uplifting and keeps your feet moving. Many of the songs show a free Rhapsody style and liberating sensation in the melodic patterns like in "Doing My Own Thing." The gospel-choir jamboree in "A Higher Piano Intro" is tweaked by wicked organ sequences glossing a celebratory jazz vibe. The tangy piano treatments on "High Velocity" jump in and out of the tempo shifts with an energetic vitality.
The opening number "Spirit Of Adventure" has a cocktail jazz vivaciousness doling out cruising progressions mode by bubbling saxophone chords, an underbelly of organ grooves and stylish percussions with a dance-jazz tempo and spirited handclapping backbeats. Hollingsworth’s music loves those handclapping backbeats, which also adorn "Spice Of Life" and "Crawfish Pie." There are also island overtones in the romantic hues of "Sambarosa" and "Open Throttle" which like the title implies, the music coruscates a romantic evening island mist while doused in vibrant piano jazz verses. The joyful sonic scales of the horn tremolos on "Spice Of Life" are clamped by a rhythm section garnishing a Southern jive in their funk grooves, jumping piano keys and rousing guitar links.
The title track is a silky melodic ballad with flamenco-tempered guitar pickings, gentle piano meandering, caressive horns, and delicate flutes installing a lounging after dinner mood. The exotic flutes of "Stowaway" are swirled in with African-toned whistles, foot tapping rhythms and whipping piano keys that belt out springy strokes. The warm, softly blossomed chords on "Undercurrents" cushion buttery saxophone folds with an intimacy that makes you want to put your head on your partner’s shoulder. The final track "Darwin’s Voyage" has bongo-tinned percussions bound by sleek horns and twittering piano keys, which project a sophisticated stroking.
Mark Hollingsworth’s music is just as good the second time around. His debut album On The Mark introduced audiences to his upbeat style, and his second album Chasing The Sun re-enforces his upbeat treatments. His music is sleek, sophisticated and positive in their images. He composes more than just one style of jazz, and covers ground from intimate moments to big loud jamborees. It is safe to say that he has more dimensions to his musicality that have yet to be exposed. The greatest gift Hollingsworth has been endowed with is that he knows there is always more to learn about composing good music, and he won’t presume that he knows everything there is to know.