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At 26, saxophonist Mark Shim is living a dream life. Born in Jamaica, he moved to the US at age five. As a young man he was ‘discovered’ by baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett. He was soon a member of The David Murray Big Band, Betty Carter’s band, and the Mingus Big Band. His first recording, Mind Over Matter paired our hero with jazz punk guitarist Dave Fiuczynski. His toying with jazz tradition earned critical acclaim and a spot in the jazz supergroup New Directions. Their self-titled 1999 release led by the old man Greg Osby featured covers of classic Blue Note releases. Shim alongside pianist Jason Moran and vibraphonist Stefon Harris drew rave reviews from their subsequent tour.
Shim rides this wave of popularity on his second date as leader. Once again forsaking a strict tradition he boosts a lineup that includes Edward Simon playing the electric Rhodes piano on three tracks and vibraphonist Stefon Harris taking up the marimba on two. Not that these are exotic instruments, but that Shim uses them with great effectiveness. On “Don’t Wake The Violent Baby” Simon creates an ethereal electric atmosphere for the tender saxophone touch of Shim. Harris’ marimba trades bony blows with a most aggressive tenor on “Survival Tactics.” Shim adopts the stylings of both Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, but mostly he is developing his own style. Like an NBA rookie, he has all the textbook moves and is quietly revealing some of his own.
Track List:Turbulent Flow; Recorda Me; Christel Gazing; Survival Tactics; Don’t Wake The Violent Baby; Dirty Bird; Scorpio; Jive Ones; Eminence.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.