Baltimore, Maryland born jazz pianist Mark Adams is currently a published author and professor at York College (CUNY), where he teaches music theory as well as beginning and advanced piano techniques. As composer and musician he has already released five albums:  Asceticism, Feel The Groove, Something’s Going On, Embellishments and Conversations (2012).

On his newest project he is accompanied by Donald Nicks (bass), Dennis Davis and Stephen Roberson (drums), Casey Benjamin (EWI, sax), Dave Ernst (additional keys), Dominic James (guitar), Ashley Horn, Larissa Blitz, Stan Hunte (violins), and some more.

New Beginnings nicely introduces into Mark Adams piano mastery. Adam Says reveals his influences like Herbie Hancock or Joe Sample. An attentive listener recognizes a variety of quotations from famous artists.

After he convinced us of his pianism, he can turn to gentler tones with After The Storm. This piece features sax player Casey Benjamin, who knows to defend his jazzy insert against white strings. Song For My Mother starts as a virtuoso inlay in a classic style before Mark enters the gentle plains of smooth jazz.

Many of his pieces like for example KGA are beautifully arranged and structured. This also shows the profound knowledge of jazz and musical history. A clear position certainly takes the title track. Trenchant piano leadership merges with a bass line.

Other pieces such as Penumbra are only to sit back and enjoy. With Hot Keys Mark shows us something from his gigantic keyboard park. Goodbye features Casey Benjamin on voice box. This vocal effect better known as talk box has a long tradition, but here the placement is particularly successful.

Jazz That Funk
and the next two songs were already to find on Adams’ first album Asceticism A Portrait of Jazz. Still brilliant piano tunes, added as an appetizer. Lullaby For Marleigh is from the album Feel The Groove. An intense jazz piano piece only supported by Tom Zlabinger on bass.

Mark Adams’ Conversations reveals his great ability to present smooth jazz with a strong jazz influence often celebrated in long solos.






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Album Information

Title: Conversations
Artist: Mark Adams
Year: 2013
Length: 0:50:49
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Smadajaz Music

01 New Beginnings [4:50]
02 Adam Says [3:26]
03 After The Storm / Mark Adams featuring Casey Benjamin [4:25]
04 Song For My Mother [4:08]
05 KGA [3:54]
06 Conversations [3:53]
07 Penumbra [3:56]
08 Hot Keys [3:30]
09 Goodbye / Mark Adams featuring Casey Benjamin [3:52]
10 Jazz That Funk [5:16]
11 Free Day [4:29]
12 Work Song [2:47]
13 Lullaby For Marleigh [2:21]

Further review:

Asceticism A Portrait of Jazz