Following up our review of The Mark Zaleski’s Band album release of “Days, Months, Years” at one of the most influential jazz clubs in the world – Smalls, here is what Mark shared about it exclusively for Flowers In A Gun! ^^
Congrats on the new album! It’s been a while since you’ve been in the recording studio. How much of that time was spent putting “Days, Months, Years” together?
In many ways, we’ve been working on this record since our last 2007 studio recording. With this particular album, “Day, Months, Years” is a representation of everything we’ve been doing for the past 10 years. I think that the band evolution, both personally and musically, are displayed in every track. We’ve been playing these tunes for so long that we were able to take advantage of that relationship to the music when I decided to play both bass and woodwinds during the recording process. Since we plan on recording more frequently in future, this will likely be the only record where I take on two different roles. We really wanted to capture this unique relationship to each other and to this music by recording THIS record RIGHT now.
To me, the name suggests it’s an album to be enjoyed year round- what inspired it?
I love that imagery and I hope that people do enjoy it all year round for many years to come. One of the most fascinating aspect of art is how everyone perceives it differently! For me, “Days, Months, Years” is a commentary on what it takes to be a modern artist. Being a successful musician looks differently in your mind when you are young verses the reality of making it happen in the real world. Nothing is easy or straight forward and there is no finite moment when you’ve “made it”. You can’t skirt the responsibilities of being a contributing person to society in order to be an artist. You have to figure out how to navigate all of it. Being an artist, at least in the way that I’ve made sense of it, mean putting it the days, months and years and never being done always learning and growing.
You have quite the set of credentials when it comes to artists you’ve performed with. What would you look for in a band that your band might like to tour with in the future?
MZB certainly crosses over several different genres with jazz and rock being the most obvious examples so there would be a number of bands that we would love to tour with in the future. But if I had to narrow it down to one, the band Kneebody comes to mind immediately. Without knowing them personally, it seems as though their approach is similar to ours. It seems as though they work really hard at finding their own sound by playing together instead of relying on certain industry gimmicks. So, when you listen to them, they have a sound uniquely their own that could only be arrived at by investing time into their music and each other.
On that note, is there a specific place the band dreams about playing at?
As far as venues are concerned, we’ve played festivals for an audience of thousands and intimate clubs for only a handful of people. We are grateful for any audience that is willing to go along with us on our musical journey. My dream is that we could do what we do in the northeast but all over the world. I’d love to play venues on every continent and my only requirement is the hope that we can engage and connect with every person in the room.
And what would your favorite place that you’ve performed in be?
To date, I’m so proud to say that we played the 2016 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. As a native of Massachusetts, which has produced and is home to so many wonderful artists, it was a dream to play music for an event so close to my heart for my home state.
Your show reviews describe you as passionate and enthusiastic onstage- great qualities for good showmanship. Your band is obviously very tight knit! How long have you all known each other?
It’s not something that I think about but I’m happy to know that my love for what I do and the people that I do it with is communicated from the stage. As far as the member of my band go, since he is my younger brother, I met Glenn Zaleski when he was born and he is certainly the first person that I every played music with. I met Jon Bean, Danny Weller and Mark Cocheo during my time at The New England Conservatory from 2005-2007. Oscar Suchanek and I met in another band that I’m in called The Either/Orchestra. In addition to being spectacular musicians, everyone in this band are good people. I’m very lucky to be able to make music with these gentlemen.
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for budding jazz lovers?
Yes! If you really want to fall in love with jazz, go see it live! People make recordings to capture something that was experienced in real life and, don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of important and influential recordings in existence. But, in my opinion, the energy and spontaneity that comes from a live jazz show is different from any other live performance art. Improvisation, just like in conversations, is not just the way the musicians communicate on stage but also the way that we communicate with the world.