Always staying in the moment, and treating the melody and the song with skill and dexterity. I am always reminded of Django's way of playing. Mark hints at Django's style throughout "After You've Gone". A standard for many years.
When I was two years old, I had a 78 rpm record from organist Ethel Smith of "Tico Tico". I was always playing this tune. I never thought that I would ever hear a Jazz version. Going south on this one to the rich musical heritage and Latin flavors of South America, Mark and company turn up the heat with welcome conversation between the band as a group and Mark, playing on top, with Benny Green's piano joining in the festivities. I'm sure the group had a great time recording this classic.
"Something To Live For" is from the Ellington / Strayhorn songbook. Taken at a relaxed tempo, one envisions cool trade winds and warm evenings, as Mark caresses every note with delicacy and class. Paying homage to two of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth Century.
Another standard, "Come Rain Or Come Shine" again showcases Nicholas Payton with Mark trading beautiful chords throughout the opening, before the band joins in for some great ensemble work. Nicholas playing on top, showcasing his lyrical approach to the piece.
"The Niche" is another original from Mark. Tenor saxophonist leading this one with Mark gently comping to great effect. Eric shows us that he can carry a melody as well as build on it with original ideas, as well as strong support from the band.
Mark continues to grow as a musician. Always listening and always developing his own unique style which has already placed him in great company with some of the most influential guitarists of the past thirty or so years. Hall, Martino, Burrell, Kessell, Ellis, Montgomery, Farlow, and Jimmy Rainey to name but a few.