Jazz in Europe


The Quartet

Well we set off on tour for our first stop in Oldenburg Germany to perform at Jazz Club Alluvium on Feb 23rd. A nice venue run by a singer named Al Yasha Anderson. She is originally from Brooklyn New York, and now residing in Oldenburg. The concert was a nice start to our 6 concerts in Germany, and Switzerland. We are preparing new music for a recording in Switzerland on February 26+27 live at Chorus Jazz Club. We have been playing all new music by Tim Horner, Allen Farnham, and myself. Some very challenging stuff. On morning of the 24th we drove to Rostock Germany where we played for the second time at Upsprung, which is a nice little club in Rostock in the northeast of Germany. The music grows each night as we pour our hearts and souls deep into what we love to do. Next day we drove to Schwann Germany where we played at this really fantastic little place called Kulterschanke, run and owned by Sylva Tkotsch. We met Sylva last year when we performed in Rostock, and she absolutely insisted we come to perform at her venue this year. It was a great concert as it was completely acoustic with no microphones anywhere. A little stage which put us very close to each other. It felt great on the stage, as I could hear really well, and the usual monitor systems that these clubs have were not there to ruin the sound onstage. It was like playing in our living room. The music really took off that night. Before the concert, as the audience filed into the club, I noticed there were many older folks coming in as well as a younger crowd, so I felt that it would nice to give them a standard tune to start the set. We did that and then continued with our original music as we prepare for the recording on the 26-27th. Much to my surprise they were very enthusiastic about the original music. They really ate it up. We sold many CD’s and it ended as a great night.

Now comes the tough leg of the tour. We departed at 6am on the 26th, drove 2hours to Hamburg airport. Unloaded, returned the car, checked in, and took our flight to Zurich. We need to be in the Geneva area, but the flights from Hamburg to Geneva were so expensive I chose to go to Zurich as we had 85-euro flights. Upon arriving at Zurich we caught a train to Lausanne to arrive for the concert/live recording at Chorus Jazz Club. We got to the hotel at 4:40pm. Rested I hour and went to the sound check. Ate dinner and hit at 9pm. 2 burning sets to a packed club. This club has become our home away from home. We are so well received in Switzerland in general, but it is our 5th year playing at Chorus, and the same faces, and friends keep coming. Sold a load of CD’s and even though we were totally exhausted from the trip that day, and no sleep, we played our asses off. This band is incredible. For me it is a dream come true to work the music to this level, and simply to be on the stage performing at this level at this point in my life. I have dreamed of this path since I was 13 years old, when I first heard Elvin Jones play live at The Village Vanguard. I actually broke in tears during rehearsal of a ballad that Tim Horner wrote titled “I Wish I Knew You”, as I became over whelmed with the beauty of the music, and the gratitude I have for these musicians, the music, my family, thinking of lost friends, and the difficulties of life. Another song we play is a beautiful waltz dedicated to the bass player Bob Bowen who was tragically run over by a truck while riding his bike in New York. The song is titled “The Place I Feel Free”, composed by Tim Horner as well. It refers to Bob’s stories of his life, as he spoke to Tim, and said how the one place he feels free is when he is riding his bike, as the day-to-day problems of life disappear when riding. How sad, and ironic he was killed in that place he felt so free! Life is so fragile out here for us all, and we must continue to be grateful for what we have. I miss my family when on the road, but my road family keeps me moving, and I am very grateful for the music. It makes me feel free, alive, and continuously motivated to, play better today than I did yesterday!! Second night of recording at Chorus tonight. Can’t wait to hear it when finished!

Mark Sherman in Rostock

Allen Farnham

Dean Johnson

Tim Horner

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The Quartet

The Quartet

It’s been two weeks since my return to the US from the month long Rhythm Road/US State Department tour of Russia, and Asia. It has been quite an emotional adjustment since on the  tour we were treated as if we were diplomats from the United States. Driving in embassy limos. Being wined and dined constantly, and of course the 50-100 people who mobbed us after concerts and master classes to get a picture or an autograph, or to just talk about music. Most importantly I miss the day to day music. We played over 30 events, Everyday was another bit of magic from the music. We drove the music to higher levels. That is what happens when you do many consecutive events. My dream since I was 13 years old has been to do just that. Back in New York it has been a small adjustment from playing concerts, and master classes daily, to more occasional opportunities to do this. I miss the daily hang with the band as well. We all bonded like family. I am looking forward to Europe upcoming in the fall, Australia in the spring, and back to teaching in the university, and conservatory I work in. Hats off to the band of Tim Horner, Jim Ridl, and Tom Dicarlo for the completion of that month in Asia. We all worked our butts off, but the music made it all worth while.

Tim in Europe

Tim in Europe

Tim Horner Korea

Tim Horner Korea

With all the blogging I have been doing about concerts and various other subjects I thought perhaps now would be a good time to talk out a friend, and musician who has certainly changed my life. That is Tim Horner. drummer, composer, educator, violist, a spiritual motivator, a gentle loving person, and one of my best friends. Maybe 20 plus years ago I met Tim while I was sitting in on a Joe Locke gig that Tim was playing. Joe invited me up to play a tune at the old Village Gate on Bleecker Street in New York City. I had heard Tim play a few times, but never had played with him. The next time I played with Tim was in 2002, when I started a new band after maybe a five-year lapse in my recording career. I had met Allen Farnham the great jazz pianist, and educator on a Liza Minelli tour, and we decided to get together when we returned to New York to run through some new compositions I had recently written. From that get together I formed a band for the recording “The Motive Series” with the late Michael Brecker as a guest artist. I called Tim, and asked him if he’d like to do it with Allen Farnham, Phil Palombi, and myself. Tim agreed, and that began a relationship that has truly altered my life in a really positive way. The record did well, and I was grateful of course to have Michael Brecker on it as he just burned up the two tunes he played on. Since then with a change in the bass slot to Dean Johnson, the band has made four memorable recordings, and been on five European tours as well as recorded a live DVD. These recordings have launched my solo career to place it has never been. I have been able to really get my name out there better than ever before. I owe it all to that band, but Tim and I have now gone off to co lead a band that is currently on a Russia/Asia tour for 4 weeks. It is the longest tour we have ever done together. Tim and I have become one on the stage. I play to my highest level with him as he encapsulates the essence of what jazz drumming has evolved to today. He has a true knowledge of music in every way. As a fine violist, Tim understands melody, and harmony quite well. Better than any drummer I have ever come across, and I have played with many of the finest in the world. He is ever supportive of the music, and lives the music with each and every note he plays. His groove is super deep, and his technique allows him to capture the feeling of all the greatest jazz drummers who ever lived. Players like Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, and Jack Dejohnette. Tim sounds like all of them, and most of all like himself. Some nights I look over to him in the midst of a performance, and I realize I am playing with one of the world’s greatest musicians. All the master drummers I have just mentioned cannot be mentioned without including Tim Horner. Actually he has something over all of them. He is a fine composer. He has written several songs for this tour that have really proved this to me. His tune “Museum Piece”, that he wrote while looking at a painting in a New York museum for three hours one day, captures everything music is about for me. A gorgeous melody, with deep harmony, and a deeply rooted concept. With an opening statement of the melody with just solo piano with the pedal down, begins this composition setting a mood, which is truly mesmerizing for me as a player. Every night I close my eyes as if in a chant, and reach deep in my heart for a heart wrenching performance of this piece. Then I state the melody as the rhythm section follows me into the highest level of spirituality in music I have ever reached. Then trading complete choruses nightly with Jim Ridl on piano raises my spirit every performance. We step the ladder with each chorus increasing in intensity as Tim builds and builds the feeling underneath us as we reach for uncharted territory nightly. This piece is simply why I live to play this music. I see god every time we perform it. Tim and I have stuck together with the music for 7-8 years now, and it has changed my life for the better. Of course with all this closeness in the music Tim Horner and I have become the closest of friends, and colleagues. The world should know Tim Horner is one of the finest all around musicians in the world. Bravo Tim, and thanks for the music. I will love you forever for the positive effect you have had on my life!

Check Tim’s web site for more biographical information! www.timhornermusic.com

Tim in Europe

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An educator

An educator

Tim Horner Korea

Tim Horner Korea

Mark Sherman/TIm Horner 4tet Russia Arrival

Mark Sherman/TIm Horner 4tet Russia Arrival

View from Hotel

View from Hotel

Fire Escape Rope

Fire Escape Rope

Fire Escape Drop

Fire Escape Drop

The Mark Sherman/Tim Horner 4tet began the Rhythm Road/US State Department tour with a flight from NYC to Seoul Korea. The flight was uneventful. I personally have flown to Japan, and other flights that are 14-15 hours, and after all these years it is still just as uncomfortable as it always was. It takes such a tremendous toll on your body. My sinuses were so messed up after the flight from the pressure of being 40,000 feet in the air for 15 hours. The whole thing really messes your system up. Anyway we arrived safely in Seoul, and checked into the Airport Transit hotel, which is generally used for people who are changing planes and have an overnight wait as we did. The rooms were small but adequate. The only drag was there were no windows in the hotel as it is actually one flight above the airport itself. The next morning as we were walking to our gate for our flight to Russia, I turned to Tim Horner and said, ” Man we have not seen daylight or had a breath of fresh air in 24 hours. I really noticed this, and missed the air. The hotel had air conditioning of course, and prior to that we had been flying the long flight, so I really noticed that I had not taken in any fresh air in a long time. That air conditioning and airplane air just dries you out and creates a lot of stress on your body. Anyway we caught our flight to Vladivostok, Russia, and arrived safely. A few interesting things happened upon arrival. As we exited the plane a mean looking security officer pointed a laser beam at everyone entering Russia as we passed the flight cockpit. I found out that this was a method they use to detect if anyone is running a fever. This is their way of preventing H1N1 from spreading into Russia. Very interesting as I never experienced that form of security. Next the entire plane piled into a bus that would take us to the terminal. Well they piled us in like sardines and eventually the doors closed. We literally drove 10 feet to an entrance to the terminal. We all looked at each other in disbelief as we all simply could have walked the 10 feet to the terminal. That was really funny. Like something out of a comedy movie. Anyway we arrive by van safely to the Hotel Hyundai in Vladivostok where I checked into a really nice room with a view of the naval port and the Pacific Ocean. When I opened the window in my room I saw a black bag and said to myself “oh man someone left a black bag on the window ledge”. I opened it and found a thick rope wrapped around a large spindle. I looked out the window and saw a 100-foot drop and realized that this rope was tied into a giant hook on the ceiling of the window casing. It is the fire escape. If a fire occurs your escape is climbing down this rope 100-200 feet down, which in itself is really dangerous, and you would have to be in great shape and have some rock climbing skills to do it. “DON’T LET GO”!! Totally unbelievable. This would never pass building code in the US. Finally had a good night sleep and we will play music today. More to come!

AT CHORUS JAZZ CLUB LAUSANNE CH

Well I arrived safely from Napoli Italy- Geneva CH and waited at the Geneva airport for my New York rhythm section of Allen Farnham, Dean Johnson, and Tim Horner. The snow in New York forced cancellations, and thanks to Dean Johnson’s alertness regarding the potential snowstorm who got everyone rebooked on another flight through London. As it turned out it snowed 2 feet in New York. Anyway they arrived at Geneva airport after a 17 hour ordeal that should have taken around 8 hours. We rested a few hours, and went to a sound check at AMR in Geneva, where we had a 9:30 concert. The band played 2 very strong sets. We were well received by a nice crowd and I picked up a student for the next morning. A little extra money.

Saturday morning we caught the train to Lausanne CH, which has over the last 5 years become one of my favorite venues. Same routine, we rested and later went to the sound check and the concert. I don’t know what it is about Lausanne CH. I am so well received there. It is my 4th time in 4 four years playing there. Both sets were sold out completely and I sold many CD’s and greeted many old friends. Jean Claude Rochat is the owner of Chorus, and he runs a great venue. The music is first at this club. The stage sounds, and feels great for me. I always hear myself well there. The crowd was just out of control, screaming at us with applause. I was overwhelmed with excitement. Back in the hotel much later around 3am I was reflecting upon the fact that, doing concerts like tonight for an overly responsive audience is what my dream has been since I was 13 or 14 years old. To be appreciated for what you do. Anyway it will be a tough performing environment to beat for the remainder of the tour.  Jean Claude Rochat has also asked the band to return to Lausanne next year for two nights and a recording of a live CD. Musically the band has been tighter, and looser than ever before after 4 CD’s, 1 DVD, and 6 years of touring. It is really a “BAND”!

Flight to Hamburg tomorrow to continue the tour.

Jean Claude Rochat

Allen Farnham

Mark Sherman

Dean Johnson

Tim Horner

I have to be so careful how I pack these days. The airlines have made it so difficult to travel. I am going to Italy for 4-5 days and playing with Italian musicians in Napoli at Round Midnight Jazz Club, and then on the 26th I am meeting my New York band of Allen Farnham, Dean Johnson, and Tim Horner for 8 or 9 concerts through Switzerland and Germany. I can’t wait as we are so well received in Europe. Anyway I need bring a lot of product with me to sell at the concerts. One time I sold 48 units after one set at Chorus Jazz Club in Lausanne Switzerland, so I need to come prepared with a lot of product. Well you can’t carry 100 cd’s + clothes and everything else in your check on bag. Much to heavy and the airlines are just out to get you this day. They charge for absolutely everything. Someday we will pay for air. “Hello sir would like some air. It is only 5 dollars. We accept visa, MasterCard, and American Express.” So I bought a nice Swiss carry on bag that can hold my mallets, music, personal items and about 80 CD’s, and I will pack 50 in my suitcase. The European flights for this tour are on Easy Jet. They charge for weight of bags. It is totally ridiculous. Years ago I used to bring my vibes on the planes when touring with Jackie and Roy as well as Peggy Lee and Larry Coryell. Those days are over. It would cost me 1000 dollars to get on a plane today with that kind of weight. So I prepared very well and I arrived at the US Airlines check in counter only to be charged 55 dollars to put a second bag on the plane. Who the hell dreams up these figures? 55 dollars? How absolutely ridiculous. Everything these airlines are doing is a direct conflict with what president Obama is trying to accomplish. They are just raping people left and right. I was never notified of the rules of US Air when I got my ticket, and no rules were attached to my E ticket in the email. Totally taking advantage of people as once you arrive at the check in counter it is too late. Unless of course I wanted to add the vibraphone bars I am traveling with as a second carry on. That would have been fun to as they weigh around 40 pounds, and I had a 3-hour layover in Philadelphia, before my flight to Rome. I used mileage for my flight as I paid 2100 us dollars for my rhythm section to fly to Geneva and back to New York from Zurich. Even with the mileage US Air racked a bunch ridiculous charges to add onto the mileage ticket. It still cost me 350 dollars to get on that plane. Plus the 55 dollars they whacked me for at the counter. I will never fly US Air again, or should I say US SCARE! I was on a prop plane to Philadelphia for the first leg. The same type of plane that my friend Gerry Neiwood perished in last year on a 45 minute flight on Continental Airlines from New York to Buffalo for a concert with Chuck Mangione. How sick is that. The poor guy was just trying to get to work. He had to die doing it. I was definitely scared on that small plane. US SCARELINES!!

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