This month's free MP3 download is Mark's composition "Rendezvous", written for his friend from his early days as a musician, David Zasloff, jazz comedian. When we made a trip to Los Angeles in 2012, we looked up David and stopped to visit him at his home in Burbank. Mark wrote the song to honor the reunion. Mark’s been playing "Rendezvous" again lately, so he wanted to feature it as the free download this month and tell you a little about David.
Mark and David played gigs together at Matzoh Momma’s, a Jewish delicatessen and restaurant on Capitol Hill in Seattle. David did comedy and played multiple instruments along with other musicians. The musicians would switch instruments during the show and the instruments included sax, flute, shakuhachi, bass, drums and piano. David is originally from New York City. He’s a master shakuhachi player, and working with him started Mark’s interest in the instrument, which he now plays and builds on occasion. David was one of Mark’s best friends in the day. Mark often stayed on David’s couch when he came back to visit Seattle after he moved to Europe. David recorded a single called "Jazz Club" for Audio Daddio, and Mark wishes he still had a copy of it.
David is a stand-up comedian/multi-instrumentalist – vocalist and has performed in a wide variety of venues throughout the United States. David has written two books. One called, “The Complete Book Of Everything, Part I” which is a compilation of his comic monologues. His autobiography is called, “The Joy of Suffering.” And he recorded a comedy CD entitled “Honey Take Me Home.”
With his band David plays “Zen Jazz” which is a combination African, Japanese, Jewish, Latin, Caribbean, bebop. As a multi-instrumentalist he plays shakuhachi flute, trumpet, piano, percussion, guitar, autoharp and shofar. He is an accomplished songwriter, film composer and has produced four CD’s as well as been the musical director for 14 HBO comedy channel shows and one Showtime Special. His music has also been heard on the TV show “The Young and The Restless.”
Most recently David played shakuhachi flute on the multi million selling Linkin Park CD, “Meteora.” David has also been a ski instructor, wilderness guide, white water river guide, stained glass artist, actor, playwright and record label owner.
Still up from last month: “Roll ‘em Joe,” written for the great guitarist from Toronto (Barrie) Ontario, Joe Huron. It’s the last track on Mark’s “New York Session” album. George Cables is on piano, Essiet Essiet on bass and Victor Lewis on drums.
“Roll ‘em Joe” has an African 12/8 beat. When Mark plays this song in a live performance, when he’s closer to home and has more instruments available, he sometimes supplements the group with either his triangle or djembe on this song. Mark developed his deep love and respect for the djembe working with Asad Oberoi, who played djembe in The Mark Lewis International Quintet. The quintet played Mark’s music written in African rhythms and included musicians from India, Holland, Africa and South America. Mark enjoys playing African sounds and used to teach African music at conservatories in Holland, to help teach jazz.
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Alone Together (Live)
Mark Lewis & David Friesen
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Veteran jazz masters Mark Lewis and David Friesen have recorded more than 100 albums between them, including two together (one on the Audio Daddio label, one on the Quartet label). The single “Alone Together” was recorded live at The Fremont in Seattle WA in December 2017.
This recording is rare for a number of reasons:
-It’s the first recording released of Mark Lewis on baritone saxophone, he’s most often heard on alto -David Friesen plays his own original music on recordings and in concert, almost never jazz standards -Mark Lewis typically records his own original music (more than 1,700 songs composed to date) -“Alone Together” is from the only night that was recorded at The Fremont during a six-month jazz series in a trendy neighborhood. - the club has since closed , a casualty of rising Seattle rents -The recording demonstrates master musicians improvising with what some might call unusual instrumentation – just baritone sax and bass -The performance combines an exquisite mix of technique, creativity and emotion – hallmarks of these musicians
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