It is with great pleasure that I want to let the world know that a new Mark Zaleski Band record will be released in early 2017. The album will feature many of the songs we’ve been playing for the last 9 years (yes, our last release was back in 2007!) included Mark In the Park, Days Months Years, and Katie’s Song. Perhaps one of the most unique qualities of the recording is that I am the alto and soprano saxophone player on the album (as you’re used to seeing me), but I also am the bass player. As many of you know, performing as a professional bass player has been a big part of my musical life over these last 9 years (mostly today with Planet Radio, the soul band I helped form). I thought that if I was going to release a new recording that represented my musical personality the best, it would have to include me as a bass player as well.
While in theory this makes sense, it brought up many concerns. This idea of playing saxophone and bass on a jazz record is something no one has ever done before; maybe there’s a reason for that? My favorite moments in jazz records (and favorites of almost any avid jazz listener) are moments of improvisational interaction. One of the strongest features of the MZB is the organic chemistry between its players, which makes each solo each night a different musical journey. I had to very carefully think through the recording process to decide when it would be a good idea to have the band play without a bass player (while I played saxophone), when it would be more important to have no lead saxophone role (while I played bass), and when the most appropriate move to make to capture the flow of each tune accurately would be for me to switch instruments in the middle of a song.
The only way something like this could possibly work is because of the wonderful musicianship of the players on the recording; Jon Bean, Glenn Zaleski, Mark Cocheo, and Oscar Suchanek. I believe that a task like this could only be completed by the five of us. Not only are they amazing, virtuosic musicians, but they’ve been committed to this project for years. We’ve played these songs many, many times all over the country before getting in the studio to record them. You would have to know this fairly difficult music extremely well to succeed in making music sound natural while having to imagine what your bass part or lead part might sound like. I couldn’t be more proud to have a band of such amazing open-minded talents.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with Pamela Hines at 90.5 WICN in Worcester as part of her show “Jazz New England”. During our chat, not only did debut a track from the new record “Mark In the Park,” but we chatted a bit about the process, played some tunes from the 2007 self-titled MZB recording, and threw a little bit of “Duet Suite” featuring myself and my brother Glenn Zaleski. Pamela and I also talked about growing up in Central Massachusetts playing gigs with such a gifted younger brother and the performance of jazz standards in the academic jazz culture many performers see ourselves in.
Check out the video to hear the full interview with the tracks, and continue to follow www.markzaleskimusic.com to hear more details about the record. We have lots of studio videos and interviews to share with you to give you an inside scoop on this recording. We’re still thinking over the title too, so stay tuned for the release of that information!