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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Soskin: Nino Rota

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Mark Soskin is probably best known for his work with saxophone legend Sonny Rollins. As Rollins' pianist from 1978 to 1991, he contributed to a string of several marvelous CD releases on the Milestone label. These included Dancing in the Dark (1987), which opened with a masterfully straightforward cover of the pop song, “Just Once," that featured Soskin's sparkling electric keyboards.Soskin's work with Rollins was mostly in the realm of jazz standards, Great American Songbook tunes, and the saxophonist's engaging originals. For Nino Rota, the pianist's third solo piano outing, he chooses to go with a theme-based project: ...

INTERVIEWS

Mark Soskin: Challenges Welcome

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In conversation with the immensely talented and engaging pianist Mark Soskin, the word “challenge" arises periodically. It's used in a good sense. Simply put, “I like to be able to be handed a challenge and then rise to it," he said in conversation, earlier in the summer of 2010. Diversity is also something he likes. The evidence is in the myriad of projects with which he has involved himself since leaving a golden gig with Sonny Rollins years ago, after holding the piano chair in the Saxophone Colossus' band for about a decade. That variety includes ...

LIVE REVIEWS

New Classics: Mark Soskin Quartet with Ravi Coltrane at the Kitano Hotel

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Mark Soskin Quartet with Ravi Coltrane The Kitano Hotel New York, NY May 2, 2009

Mark Soskin is one of the more underrated pianists working today. Perhaps best known for his sideman work alongside greats like Sonny Rollins and Herbie Mann, Soskin combines an always melodic approach with a rich vocabulary that draws on a wide range of influences.

On May 2, he brought a new quartet--featuring Ravi Coltrane on sax, Jay Anderson on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums--to the lounge of the Kitano Hotel. With room for no more than ...

INTERVIEWS

Mark Soskin: Creating An Ever-Hopeful Day

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Mark Soskin listened to a litany of great jazz pianists growing up in Brooklyn and attending Colorado State University, where he was pursing classical studies before the jazz influences ushered in a switch to Berklee College of Music in the 1970s. The various styles and approaches to music went into forming his musical personality, as did listening to saxophone players. The result, over the years, has been Soskin's presence as an outstanding pianist offering his skills and sensibilities to a wide array of settings with the likes of Joe Henderson, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Buster Williams, Eddie ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Soskin: One Hopeful Day

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Pianist Mark Soskin has had a long and colorful career. Over the expanse of thirty-plus years he has been in varied settings. He was in the Latin music band Azteca before he went on to a fourteen-year association with Sonny Rollins. He has lived in New York City since 1981, where he continued to mark his presence with Sheila Jordan, Joe LaBarbera and Ravi Coltrane among others. He is at the helm here and with Chris Potter (saxophone), Bill Stewart (drums) and John Patitucci (bass), this comes off as a CD of abundant appeal.

Soskin's skills as an arranger let ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Soskin: One Hopeful Day

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Currently serving on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, pianist Mark Soskin knows a thing or two about what keeps jazz alive and well in today's competitive entertainment market. His straight-ahead quartet interprets this program of nine standards and originals with fire in their eyes and adrenalin in their fingers. As the pianist takes his solo romp during the ensemble's interpretation of Chick Corea's “Innerspace, you can feel the heat waves stretching out in all directions at once. Soskin balances his fast and furious program with lyrical melodies that progress gently. His title track dances ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Soskin: One Hopeful Day

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Without belittling the contributions of its leader, pianist Mark Soskin, One Hopeful Day is an album dominated by the presence of saxophonist Chris Potter. It's a substantial addition to Potter's discography, and--following his most recent own-name release, the widely feted if perhaps overly mannered Underground (Sunnyside Records, 2006) with guitarist Wayne Krantz--a return to his classicist roots. And while the music may not stretch any envelopes, it sure digs deep.

Though commissioned by the repertory-oriented, audiophile-friendly label Kind Of Blue as a mainly-standards set, One Hopeful Day isn't one of that company's decorous, preservationist projects. It's a full-on, ...



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