Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival

October 9, 2016

Returning to the stages of the Festival, (as the sun was dipping below the horizon), the heat was turned up by two bands intent on making the day last longer. First, there were the big unfurling sounds of the Mark Zaleski Band, led by saxophonist Zaleski, who is another local gem of the Boston jazz scene, (last written about here as a member of the action-packed Berklee-based big band led by Ayn Inserto- Zaleski is a roving pioneer of the alto sax and at his performance at the Festival, he attacked his solos with great bravado and open-mindedness. On one tune he squealed and shook up high with great bluesy force (in combination with a slippery solo by pianist Glenn Zaleski) and on another cut he split duties with tenor saxophonist Jon Bean on a frenetic staccato-laced adventure over the entire range of his instrument that sent the crowd into a roar of approval.

Duet Suite Review

February 15, 2011
Mark Saleski,

One of the markers of high-level instrumental interplay is the perception of intimacy. We see this again & again in review language—that the musicians seemed as though they were “of one mind,” that their communication was “telepathic.”

There are plenty of recorded examples that come to mind: Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock’s An Evening With…, Emphasis, Stuttgart by the Jimmy Giuffre 3 (with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow), and especially the impromptu live Max & Dizzy: Paris 1989, during which the jazz legends seemed to conjugate the entire history of be-bop through their improvisations (a lot of critics hated that record, I loved it).

Versatile Zaleski Bound to Please at Pine Hills

September 11, 2009
Jay N. Miller, The Patriot Ledger

Living in Massachusetts, going to school at the New England Conservatory, and forging his jazz career, Mark Zaleski never figured his musical itinerary would include backing everyone from Joan Rivers to Jethro Tull.

But that’s exactly the kind of versatility that makes the Mark Zaleski Band one of the more compelling jazz-rock fusion groups on the contemporary scene, and why the sextet led by the 24-year old saxophonist should be a big hit at this weekend’s free Pinehills Jazz & Blues Festival in Plymouth.

The Zaleski group will be playing on the Sunday afternoon (1-5 p.m.) session, along with the swing band Rocco and the Stompers, and genre-busting harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. Saturday’s lineup, also 1-5 p.m., skews more towards blues with iconic guitarist Duke Robillard, singer Sugar Ray Norcia and the Bluetones, and Next Exit.

Exploring the Theory of Relativity

August 2, 2009
Tony Sauro,

Mark and Glenn Zaleski have harmonized closely all of their lives.

“We get along great,” Mark said. “I don’t know what it is.”

The musically inclined brothers, who blend their jazz skills in the Mark Zaleski Band, also took some harmonic – and very positive – notes at University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute.

“It was the first time in my musical career I really was exposed to players at such an extremely high level,” said Glenn Zaleski, a pianist whose inspiration was Dave Brubeck, the Institute’s namesake. “Prior to that, I didn’t think people my age could play at this level. I was totally blown away.”

Table Talk With Mark Zaleski

September 11, 2009

It was a gorgeous Indian summer afternoon, there were root beer floats on the table, and Mark Zaleski was cracking up about how he and the members of his band somehow wound up all smushed in the back of a van in California. What more could you ask for when it comes to a pleasant setting for an interview? Jessie and I met up with Mark for a quick snack and a quick chat at Cafe Luna in Central, and this meeting’s been a long time coming: I’ve been keeping tabs on the happenings of the Mark Zaleski Band for nearly a year now, and for some reason their innovative jazz shows never seemed to sync up with my schedule until now. I mean, seriously: Legit jazz? A local act? A bunch of really nice dudes who love Boston and love making music together? There aren’t a lot of bands like the Mark Zaleski Band for those reasons, and jazz ensembles who appeal to the student population of this city outside of the music aficionados at Berklee and the NEC are hard to come by.

Finding Jazz at a Cool Place

August 22, 2009
Chris Barton, The Los Angeles Times

Excerpt: On a recent Saturday, young saxophonist Mark Zaleski kept a small cluster of tables bobbing with his driving take on jazz, which includes touches of groove-heavy post-rock. Zaleski, a regular on the Boston and New York circuits with a variety of ensembles, booked his own tour from the other side of the country.

“At one point last year I pulled all of my West Coast resources together and asked them all about where they played locally and figured out where they had good experiences,” Zaleski said in an e-mail. “Having access to the Internet can help me figure out where other musicians like us perform, and I can evaluate whether we would be a good fit for the club.”

Deciding where a musician might fit with a venue or its vision of jazz is a common challenge, and one that frequently inspires artists to go their own way.


December 9, 2008
Mark Saleski,

RATING: 90/100
Music writers are used to artist queries. “Hi, I’m John Q. Polytonal, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in reviewing my new CD ….” Sure, I get them all the time. But it’s weird when the artist’s name seems so, uhm … familiar. The truth of the matter is that me and Mark Zaleski are not related, though I must admit I had my fingers crossed as to the quality of his music. I mean, the opportunity to have fun with the name would have vaporized if the music leaned toward the Kenny G end of things. Let’s face it, all of those “poodle hairdo” and golf jokes have gotten stale.

The happy news is that Mark Zaleski and his band have a lot interesting things to say. “Care Free” flies out of the gate with the rhythm section setting up a fast-moving vamp over which the saxes wind their theme.

Boston Phoenix – Up and Coming

July 31, 2008
Boston Phoenix

Still only his early 20s, Boylston (it’s near Worcester) sax man MARK ZALESKI has made inroads as a student at the highly competitive Brubeck Institute and at New England Conservatory, in the meantime racking up gigs with Brubeck père Dave, bass genius Christian McBride, and the touring orchestra of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. And the Boston outfit he leads (with his brother Glenn on piano) has a fresh, aggressive edge, happy to play straight-ahead swing with bit, or roil around in a rock-tinged original number like “ . . . and Danced” with Ken Vandermark–like abandon.

Boston Phoenix

January 23, 2008
Jim Sullivan, Boston Phoenix

MARK ZALESKI is only 22, but the saxophonist, who just began his final semester at New England Conservatory, has played with both Dave Brubeck and Jethro Tull. He studied at Brubeck’s Institute in California, and in 2006 he played clarinet in an orchestra Tull took on tour. Nice credentials. But he’s proudest of his all-NEC-based sextet, the Mark Zaleski Band, who released a homonymous CD late last year that’s solid bebop and swing with impressive improv chops. “Everyone comes from a jazz background,” he says, “but we also fit into the modern jam-band category. I don’t want to alter the music, but I’d like to the change the face of the [jam-band] field. One of the things Brubeck advised was, ‘Do what’s cool for you; don’t copy.’ Same at NEC. Doing something distinctly your own is embraced.”

The Mark Zaleski Band Transcends Standard in its New Album

January 21, 2008
Anne Gregory, NEC Penguin

Procuring an ensemble where both talent and amity are attributes is a rare find in today’s musical community. The Mark Zaleski Band is one such group that not only draws from an extraordinary pool of expertise but also possesses a high level of enthusiasm. “These are all people I like to be around who just happen to be great at what they do,” Zaleski says of the band’s members. Mark Zaleski, on alto saxophone, wanted to create a group of reliable, talented musician and subsequently compiled several colleagues with whom he’s known and trusted for several years.