Singers


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

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Bow at end

Bow at end

Smile Drum Solo

Smile Drum Solo

After a really great Master Class at the Ayala Museum in Manila we walked over to the Green Belt Park venue, where we were to have our final concert of the tour. At the ambassador’s residence, and at this stage was a great drum set provided by a local drummer named Andy. They were old Gretsch Drums with a small 18″marching and style bass drum. It was really an interesting sounding set. Tim Horner plays the hell out of anything, but I know Tim was happy to see this drum kit for the last few days of the tour. Anyway we set up, and played a beautiful concert in the park for maybe 2-300 people.

Each night we played, the music got more and more locked into enlightenment stage. Where everything is so comfortable. The solos had just gotten so amazing throughout. Jim Ridl is a monster improviser. He has many styles under his belt, and twentieth century classical to mix into it. He has clearly done some score reading. Then of course add the emotional build up of arriving at the last concert of say 30 events. It was an intense evening of music. We all four just flat out gave everything to the music we could. Tim Horner played one of the best constructed solos I have ever witnessed on the intro to Jim Ridl’s “Smile Said The Drum” dedicated to Elvin Jones and his intense smile. The solo was a really true tribute to Elvin. Tim implied it all in his purposeful way of negotiating life, and the music itself. What an intense  night for us all as we laid it all out that night. Last concert of the tour.

It was sweltering hot outside that night. And it was humid. Not like China, but the lights onstage made it really hot. I lost a lot of water. On this tour we have all lost a lot of water. We sweated like mad on most gigs. I thought I would have lost weight, but they just kept feeding us, and feeding us. Sometimes 4 hours between meals we would have to go to a host dinner. Breakfast was free all the way through as we had some really amazingly luxurious breakfast buffets in the top shelf hotels we were put in. The Asian cuisine is very thorough. When they put out a buffet, it is intense. Anyway there was no losing weight. You are on the road, and somehow you get this feeling you need to “Eat For Your Life”! It does get tough out on the road sometimes.

Concert done. Lots of thanks, photos, and interviews afterwards. Another exciting day finished. A lot of work done. A lot of music put out there!

Greenbelt Park Manila

Greenbelt Park Manila

Pictures at the end

Pictures at the end

Lena Horne

Lena Horne

I am truly sorry to hear of the passing of Lena Horne. She was a true legend in jazz singing. I am blessed to have had a chance to rehearse in her home with her and Rodney Jones, and to have played vibes on one of her recordings for Blue Note Records, with Bruce Lundvall executive producer, and Rodney Jones producer. She lived to 92 which in itself is a blessing, but she will still be greatly missed.

Ray Chew

Sheila E

Michael McDonald

Fred Hammond

Last week I had a great concert at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Ray Chew a great piano player and arranger/producer, who is a good friend of mine from music and art high school. We know each other since we are 13 years old(40 years),  and he called me to play me in the rhythm section for this great event. “A night of Inspiration” was the title of the evening. And that is was as the roster of performers included BeBe & CeCe WinansPastor Shirley Caesar, Patty Griffin, Richard Smallwood, Hezekiah Walker, Sheila E., Fred Hammond, and Michael McDonald, Plus Special Guests Phylicia Rashad and Pauletta Washington. The band kicked butt for Sheila E as she did her thing. She is very talented. Also Fred Hammond left a lasting impression on me. What a soulful cat. And of course Michael McDonald was incredible as always. I have worked with him in the past. The bottom line is I was very glad to see how well Ray Chew is doing, and it was a really fun to play with his rhythm section. It was completely sold out at Carnegie Hall. An intense evening of spirtuality and music complete with full orchestra and chorus.

Played 3 weekends at Joe’s Pub in NYC with Capathia Jenkins and band. WOW what a great singer she is with a great feel, amazing range,  great intonation, and personality on stage. I worked with her on Broadway a little a while back in Martin Short’s one man show and she was really great in that, but I was able to really get to know her on the last 3 weekends at the Joe’s Pub gig. The band was full of really great players. Rob Moose plays violin and guitar, Dave Phillips on Bass, Gary Seligson on drums, with Richie Vitale on trumpet, Andrew Sterman on multi reeds, Mark Sherman myself on vibes,  and the musical director is Louis Rosen, who himself is a great song writer. Songs with emotion and purpose, and the same with the arrangements. Many tunes had lyrics by a women who certainly is one of the worlds finest poets in Nicki Giovanni. It was a really fantastic experience. Check her show out sometime . It has depth and emotion!