Who’s that? Why, the pianist, arranger, and occasional singer Mark Shane.
I’d heard Mark on records and bootleg concert tapes going back to the late Eighties, but didn’t get to meet him until 2004. And I was astonished. He’s quiet; he doesn’t rely on volume or pyrotechnics, but he swings beautifully. (He is A Stride Monster, but it’s not his only claim to our hearts.) His playing is thoughtful, delicate, without being stiff or effete. Right now, you are most likely to hear Mark as pianist and musical director for that force of nature, Catherine Russell.
But I thought a few minutes of Shane-beauty would help us keep perspective in these troubled times.
Here he is at the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Party, lovingly making his way through BLUE AND SENTIMENTAL, a hymn of praise and grief for Herschel Evans:
And, a year later, Mark’s stylish romp on MOONGLOW — always melodic, ticking away like a swing clock, with beautiful voicings and subtly varied embellishments:
Please notice how much the musicians onstage (Messrs. Chirillo, Weatherly, and Dorn) are appreciating it as well. That says a great deal.
Here’s Mark with Tal Ronen and Dan Block — thinking about Fats and his Rhythm — playing YACHT CLUB SWING:
and another salute to gorgeous melody, Mark and Terry Blaine performing SHINE ON, HARVEST MOON in 2015:
“Don’t be shy,” says Terry. And I’m not shy about my absolute admiration for Mister Shane. Here is his website, where you can hear and learn more from this master.
May your happiness increase!