Mark Feldman: Taking an Eclectic Path


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AAJ: You've played on dozens and dozens of recordings. What would you pick out or point people to as things you are particularly proud of or that exemplify your playing?

MF: There's some that I'm really happy to have taken a part of, but it doesn't mean they have anything to do with my playing so much. One was [saxophonist] Michael Brecker's Wide Angles (Verve, 2003), the second to the last record he did before he passed away. That was such a thrill to work with him, and I was so glad. And another was a similar kind of record, and instrumentation almost, was this [saxophonist] Chris Potter record, Song for Anyone (Sunnyside, 2007). But those are records where I'm more like playing concertmaster, so to speak. And there were some records like that with [saxophonist] Lee Konitz.

I still like my solo record, Music for Violin Alone [Tzadik, 1995/2008], a lot and I like What Exit, the ECM record, a lot, and the last two that I did with Sylvie and the quartet. Man, there are some really good ones, you know. Of all those old ones, I can't really remember which ones are good or not, but I think the ones I mentioned are all good. And some stuff like Masada String Trio live, the 50th Anniversary record [50th Birthday Celebration, vol. 1 (Tzadik, 2004)], I really liked that. We just recorded another Masada String Trio record, which I don't know what it's called yet or when it will be released; Book 2 stuff, new stuff that hasn't been recorded by anyone else. That, I heard, came out really well, I actually haven't heard it, but I remember the session seemed really good.

AAJ: That's been interesting the way that with that trio, he's been able to use it for not just that music, but also some of the Filmworks stuff, the way the chemistry between the three of you seems to be really strong.

MF: Right. Well, I mean, I've known [cellist] Erik [Friedlander] since, jeez, '88 or something, played on different stuff with him. The first one I played with him was with Dave Douglas: oh, there's all those records I did, they were good. I did Dave Douglas string band, then Dave Douglas Charms of the Night Sky; those were good records.

AAJ: I think that was probably the first time I saw you play, with Charms of the Night Sky.

MF: Yeah, I had all black hair then too, it was good [laughs]. Another record I really liked, to get back to your first question, is Lucifer (Tzadik, 2008), the Bar Kokhba record. I think that's a great record. [Guitarist] Marc Ribot sounds incredible on that record. I really like that record a lot; it has kind of an effortless feeling to it when I hear it back. There's so many good records with John; you know as soon as I hang up, I'll remember everything.

But that stuff with Dave Douglas, that was good too. The stuff with Arcado String Trio, that was good. We made a record called Live in Europe (Avant, 2007) that was recorded with [cellist] Ernst Reijseger instead of Hank Roberts that came out really good. And we did stuff with Hank Roberts with a symphony orchestra that came out good [For Three Strings and Orchestra, (JMT/W&W, 1992/2004)]. There was another one called Behind the Myth (JMT/W&W, 1990/2003) that I thought was pretty good.

AAJ: And there's the one with the clarinet trio as well [Double Trio, Green Dolphy Suite (Enja, 1995)].

MF: Oh yeah, that's a really good record. That would be one I'd say I'm really proud of; called the Double Trio, on Enja. And we did a lot gigs, I mean a lot of gigs for a special project. We probably did about eight or nine gigs. We played the Moers Festival, it was fun, that was a long time ago, like '95, '94. Yeah, it's really like rolling down the hill now, picking up speed.

Those were all good, really good. If I had a list in front of me of all of them, I think I'd really be able to start to remember. I like the ones with Tim Berne, those were good; Formanek's, those were good. That one Formanek is called Extended Animation (Enja, 1992), that was a good record, with [guitarist] Wayne Krantz. And a lot of these records with Abercrombie too are great. I really like Open Land (ECM, 1999), I think it's one of my favorites, and this other one called The Third Quartet (ECM, 2007). And there's one called Class Trip (ECM, 2004) that I really like. Those are really nice records too.

AAJ: Do you find that you play differently in these situations?

MF: Yeah, I play differently on Abercrombie's record than I would on some of these other records. The material is so different: John Abercrombie writes such gorgeous songs. It's really a different material than the stuff I'm doing with Sylvie. I mean it should be different, so I do play differently, yes.

AAJ: Is there anything else you wanted to touch on or cover?

MF: I can't think of anything really, except, thank you for asking me to do this.

Selected Discography:

Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman, To Fly To Steal (Intakt, 2009)

John Abercrombie Quartet, Wait Till You See Her (ECM, 2009)

Bar Kokhba Sextet, Lucifer: The Book of Angels, Vol. 10 (Tzadik, 2007)

John Abercrombie Quartet, The Third Quartet (ECM, 2009)

Mark Feldman, What Exit (ECM, 2005)

Masada String Trio, John Zorn 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 1 (Tzadik, 2003)

Dave Douglas, Five (Soul Note, 1995)

Mark Feldman, Music for Violin Alone (Tzadik, 1994)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 4: Courtesy of Mark Feldman

Page 2: Frank Rubolino

Page 3: John Kelman



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