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 delicately as though waltzing across the floor of a warm estate ballroom. Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Bill Stewart work cohesively to maintain an excellent flow. Guitarist John Abercrombie, who sits in for two of Soskin's compositions, "Step Lively and "Strive, fits in with this close-knit group quite naturally. The former runs with articulate animation, while the latter moves at a more languid pace. Potter employs soprano here for a more stringent sound.
At fifty-four and with seven previous albums as leader, the pianist finds himself buried in creative ideas that flow freely. His superb way with a keyboard is at its most evident as he closes the album with a solo piano interpretation of Clare Fischer's "Pensativa. Here, he's outspoken in his quest to bring adventure into every phrase, every measure of his One Hopeful Day.
Track Listing: On The Street Where You Live; Bemsha Swing; Innerspace; One Hopeful Day; Step Lively; It's Easy To Remember; End Of A Love Affair; Strive; Pensativa.
Personnel: Chris Potter: tenor saxophone (1-7), soprano saxophone (8); Mark Soskin: piano; John Patitucci: bass (1-8); Bill Stewart: drums (1-8); John Abercrombie: guitar (5,8).
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.