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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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" ...

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Article: 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: ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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, ...

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Article: Album Review

The Mark Masters Ensemble: One Day with Lee

Read "One Day with Lee" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Having heard The Clifford Brown Project and now One Day with Lee, featuring the peerless alto saxophonist (and composer) Lee Konitz, I can hardly wait to hear what the Mark Masters Jazz Ensemble and its sponsor, the American Jazz Institute, plan to do next. If these aren’t two of the finest big-band albums of the past ...


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