Did anyone else make it to this gig? It was excellent!
** nay - - wedding anniversary that night. my bass cab was supposed to be there, but mark and i didn't hook up.
I knew Mark at school in San Diego, but I haven't heard him play live
since the early '80s. He was amazing even then. In addition to a
great musical ear and composerly imagination, he is physically
incredibly strong. When the music calls for it he is able to pummel
his instrument to the brink of self-destruction, but he does so with
absolute control and nuance. He also plays with great emotoinal range
and a depth of good humor.
** mark has been a total inspiration to me. most importantly in his absolute commitment to each note he plays. then if you get into his prodigious extended technique, fuggedaboutit. he says strings are made to be broken.
Mark was only beginning to develop as a composer when last I saw him
(1984 in Rome, I think) but this has become a primary musical focus
over the years. He's working on a major project with
trumpeter/composer/maniac Ed Harkins from UCSD, and he has a long
list of commissions in the works.
** he has two really good cds on tzadik, one on soul note, three on knitting factory works, and one on cryptogramophone with another one on the way.
A small technical note: Mark uses an amplification system on his bass
that combines signals from two mics mounted on the instrument. One is
in the usual place between the bridge and F-holes; the other is at
the nut and its level can be controlled by a pedal. This allows
pickup of sound from both segments of a stopped string, as well as
picking up string rattle and other anciallary sounds as needed.
** the thing on the nut is called the giffus. he controls its signal with a volume pedal.
(shameless plug ahead)
mark and his giffus show up on my newest cd, "pomegranate," on cryptogramophone (cg109). his piece (as are the other three) is a quasi-concerto for improvising soloist and improvising back-up band. in fact, vinny golia (his partner for the concert richard was talking about) is also a featured soloist. of moderate looping content, nels cline is on the last piece on the cd and does some very nice loopage towards the end - - there's a very serendipitous moment of synchronicity between his looping cadenza and the entrance of a written line that totally leveled me when we first heard the playback.