Dan Block


Martin Gjakonovski, Lenny White, Mark Sherman, Bob Franceschini

Last night we played our second concert of the tour at “Pizza Express” in London’s Soho section. The music is growing as we dig in more and more. We did have an unfortunate problem at the airport in Cologne as we checked in for our flight. Martin Gjakonovski has been living in Germany for 20 years, but he has a Croatian passport as that is his birthplace. Well because Croatia is not part of the European Commission it is a real problem for him to enter London wither a special visa. My manger, and tour manager for this tour got the work permits for us all, but Martin’s visa had to be treated very carefully because of this problem. Well we got to the check in counter, and they would not give Martin his boarding pass, as something slipped by in the processing, or the airline did not know what they were doing regarding this matter. They said because his visa, and work permit were not stapled to his passport, he would not be permitted to board the plane in Cologne, as they would just send him back to Germany when he arrived in London. As I said in my last blog about the Germany gig, the stress level can really rise when situations like this occur, and it sure did. We were freaking out, and the airline is not in the business of making it easy for the passengers. We were flying on Easy Jet airlines, which really ought to be titled “Difficult Jet”. Of course if that was the name, nobody would buy tickets, so they lie and call it Easy Jet. Subsequently Martin was unable to come to London and make this concert. We arrived at the hotel in London 3 hours before the sound check after a very stressful check in, and I had to sort out a bass player for the gig. It was real drag as Martin has had the music for months and after the first gig he was deep in the music and the band was bonding. Anyway we got bass player named Arnie Somogyi. He did a great job and we made it through the concert ok. Actually it was really burning on the second set. It got to that comfortable place that we need it to be. The club is great, they treated us very well, especially as they understood what we had just gone through. These types of problems can happen, and I have learned over the years on the road that you must remain calm, and not allow it to raise your stress level too much, but it is very tough to control sometimes. I was quite aggravated with this problem, and of course Martin I am sure was devastated that he could not make the second concert. Anyway we made it through alright, but I must add that since the world trade center was bombed the world has really changed for the worse. Traveling is just become so stressful. When they search me sometimes I get the feeling that they are going to stick their hands down my pants. It is really annoying, and an invasion of privacy. The world has really changed!!

Beautiful Italia

Mark with Dave Liebman

Mark with Dave Liebman

I played a really nice record date for this fabulous singer from Chicago named Erin Mcdougald this week at Bennett Studios in Englewood New Jersey. On the date we had Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Dan Block, and myself in front with Rodney Green on Drums, with Cliff Schmitt on bass, and Rob Block on piano, and guitar. Rob Block did the arrangements along with Erin Mcdougald. All in all it was a fun date and for me a great honor to hang and play with Dave Liebman, and Tom Harrell who are warriors in the music, and I hold the deepest respect for.. Every note these guys played was golden. In fact that goes for everyone in the band. For me hanging and playing music with Dave Liebman was particularly exciting as I used to sit right behind him at The Village Vanguard nightly when he was performing with the Elvin Jones group regularly. As a student of Elvin’s I was allowed to sit in the back corner(with a coke), and watch at the ripe age of 14 years old. And now I am playing with Dave Liebman on a recording. It was an honor and a thrill as was it to play with Tom Harrell, as he is just brilliant all around. His sound, and language are just perfect in every way. Don’t know when the CD will release, but it is a beautiful project engineered by Tony Bennett’s son Dae Bennett, and Erin Mcdougald sings her ass off, looks and sounds really great. I wish her the best of luck with this CD.

Tom Harrell, Erin Mcdougald, Dave Liebman, and Mark Sherman

Tom Harrell, Erin Mcdougald, Dave Liebman, and Mark Sherman