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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Night Talk: The Alec Wilder Songbook

Read "Night Talk: The Alec Wilder Songbook" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Alec Wilder was born in 1907 and died in 1980, and might well have been described as an eccentric renaissance man. He composed opera, musicals, film music, popular songs, and chamber music, along with publishing in 1975 one of the most read books on popular music: American Popular Song: the Great Innovators 1900-1950. The Mark Masters Ensemble is a tight knit and imaginative Octet which can stake their claim on mining the gold contained in Alec Wilder's popular ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Night Talk: The Alec Wilder Songbook

Read "Night Talk: The Alec Wilder Songbook" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Night Talk, the eighth album by celebrated arranger Mark Masters' superb West Coast-based ensemble, is subtitled “The Alec Wilder Songbook Featuring Gary Smulyan." Indeed, Smulyan's is an impressive solo voice (but hardly the only one) in an eloquent songbook that appraises eight of Wilder's tasteful compositions, including a pair of his best-known melodies, “Moon and Sand" and “I'll Be Around." As Masters arranged every number for his hand-picked octet, nothing more need be said about that save ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters: Our Metier

Read "Our Metier" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

There are a lot of fine composers writing for large jazz ensembles today, so many that some names can get lost in the shuffle. Mark Masters is a case in point. You don'r hear about him often, possibly because many of his recordings feature his ensembles playing the music of other composers like trombonist Grachan Moncur III, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. However the music on Our Metier all comes from Masters' own pen and it ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Our Metier

Read "Our Metier" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Mark Masters, an extraordinarily talented and perhaps undersung arranger of large ensembles jazz, has spent a good deal of artistic energy on crafting recordings that explore other people's compositions. His Capri Records output includes The Clifford Brown Project (2003), celebrating the sounds of the too-soon-gone trumpet legend; Porgy and Bess (2005), from the George Gershwin songbook; One Day With Lee (2004), a celebration of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz; Farewell Walter Dewey Redman (2008), a nod to another great sax man; ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight

Read "Blue Skylight" reviewed by Jack Bowers

California-based composer / arranger Mark Masters, who has already recorded salutes to Clifford Brown, Jimmy Knepper, Dewey Redman, Steely Dan, the Gershwin brothers and even the Duke Ellington saxophone section, directs his attention and considerable talents this time around to the music of a pair of legendary jazz trend-setters who were in many respects polar opposites: bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. To amplify his purpose, Masters made two pivotal decisions, each of which serves to ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight

Read "Blue Skylight" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Mark Masters has made his name in the banderleader/arranger arena fronting The Mark Master Ensemble, in various forms, with personal tributes to past masters: saxophonist Dewey Redman, Duke Ellington, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and present master, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who played as the featured artist on One Day With Lee (Capri Records (2000). These are all top notch recordings, affording Masters the opportunity to craft his own beguiling interpretations of the artistries of recognized giants of jazz. With ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Everything You Did: The Music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen

Read "Everything You Did: The Music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Another tribute album from leader / arranger Mark Masters whose splendid ensemble has previously paid homage to trumpeter Clifford Brown, saxophonist Lee Konitz, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and the Gershwin brothers (Porgy & Bess Redefined). This time around it's the music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, better known by their collective name, Steely Dan. The album, says Masters, is “a quartet recording with an ensemble," and said foursome is comprised of trumpeter Tim Hagans, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Hamilton ...


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