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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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!!



Museo Di Napoli

Well, I just returned from Italy and all I can say is I have been blessed to be able continue good health and to play the music I love. I have lost many friends and musicians who have my utmost respect, and I continue to think of them as I travel. I cried on the plane returning to New York yesterday with happiness as the feeling I get from being appreciated as a musician is overwhelming. I thought of how proud my mother( a star operatic soprano destroyed by cancer) 23 years ago would be of me if she could see me now. I feel I am making impact and leaving a message each and every time I play. So with all this emotion flowing through me about my family, children, and life in general,  I turned my ipod on and listened to a tune  written by Joel Weiskopf who has quickly become one of my favorite musicians and composers on this planet. He is very religious and his music speaks of this. I listened to his tune “Giving Thanks”, and I just broke down crying with happiness as the combination of music and emotion just knocked me out. My final concert in Italy on this past 2 weeks was at the Museo Di Archeologico in Napoli Italy. About 300 people were there to watch me perform with the Luigi Ruberti 5tet as a guest artist. Afterwards about 50 or more people just attacked me to buy my CD’s,  and have me autograph them as well as take pictures with them individually. I was overwhelmed with happiness and it took me nearly an hour to finish all these peoples requests. Thank you god for giving me this ability to communicate with the music. I deeply appreciate everything I have in my life. I promise to continue to practice and work hard to make my craft even stronger, as I just want to leave a strong message of love and gratitude when I perform. This is what I live for. Above are several pictures from the last concert. A fantastic two weeks in Italy. I can’t wait to return in late February.

Mark being attacked by fans after the concert

Mimmo Napolitano, Luigi Ruberti, and Gianfranco Campognoli

Well I just finished three days of recording as a guest artist on Italian bass player Luigi Ruberti CD project here in Napoli Italy. It is a dedication to legendary pianist Bill Evans and has tunes like “Very Early”, “We Will Meet Again”, and many other great Bill Evans compositions all thoughtfully arranged with great purpose by Luigi Ruberti, and I assisted him with many reharmonization and rhythm section arrangements. The musicians Mimmo Napolitano, and Giuseppe La Pusata are excellent especially the trumpet player Gianfranco Campognoli. He is only 32 years old and he just knocked me out. This kid flat out plays his ass off. Great tone, time,  incredible technique, big heart and emotion, and is deeply rooted in the jazz language. Straight out of Freddy Hubbard and Woody Shaw, Clifford Brown etc. He can really spell the stuff out correctly. He is like a young Joe Magnarelli who is one of  my favorites.  Most have never heard of him , but you will eventually, This type of talent cannot remain a secret forever. All in all a great experience for me as a guest artist I was featured a lot. Tutto bene!!!!