12 Songs, 1 Hour 16 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

by @critical jazz ,

Nice Work If You Can Get It

A year ago this release would not have received a second look as it crossed my desk, funny how time and perspective can change a person. Having said that, I noticed two tunes on this release that raised an eye brow as a potential musical trip wire so having acknowledged some preconceived judgement allow me to acknowledge that judging a book by it's cover or in this cover tune is a bad idea.

Lopeman waited till his early fifties for his debut as a leader and comes out swinging! While Lopeman has a sound reminiscent of Zoot Sims, Lopeman's sound is unique and so is his swing and choice of instrumentation. Lopeman's choice of tunes borders on the eclectic but are all pulled off with first rate style! Along with a tremendous instrumental voice there is another formidable talent as all arrangements are done by Lopeman as well.

The George Gershwin standard "Love Walked In" is magically reinvented with that smoke filled room sound without ever bordering on the mundane or self indulgent trip that could have easily been taken. The Mark Lopeman original "Intentions" has a clarinet lead that adds a sonic depth of field to a tune that is slipped in a wonderful yet quirky selection of tunes but fits perfectly. "Jitterbug Waltz" seems to have popped up twenty times on releases over the past year, this arrangement I will remember. Soprano lead on Fats Waller? Dig it! Having never been a fan of Joni Mitchell(*) and noticing that "Woodstock" was the tenth track on the release, I figured this would be where the release tanks. Not so! Lopeman reinvents a pop standard with amazing jazz sensibilities and a subtle style that borders on infectious. "Woodstock" takes on a mysterious quality as Lopeman's solo work is lyrically driven and straight to the point. The Lopeman original "World Economy Blues" could easily be ground zero for what will hopefully be a follow up in the coming year.

The supporting cast of Ted Rosenthal, Nicki Parrott, Tim Horner, Brandon Lee and Noah Bless make for one of the better small ensemble recordings for the more straight ahead fan. Aside from his instrumental talent, Ken Peplowski is first rate as a producer.

Instead of beating a musical dead horse, Mark Lopeman swings to his own style and his own beat. An incredibly well developed and well thought out project that is a five star winner. Lopeman knows who he is as an artist and can take work from icons such as Fats Waller, George Gershwin and Joni Mitchell and put his own spin on the music without disrespecting either himself or the original.

Making old school turn new cool, Mark Lopeman is indeed "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

Tracks: Love Walked In; My Reverie; Intentions; My Kind Of Girl; I'm A Fool To Want You; La Station-Service; Jitterbug Waltz; Nice Work If You Can Get It; World Economy Blues; Woodstock; I'm Always Chasing Rainbows; Everything Happens To Me.

Personnel: Mark Lopeman: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Ted Rosenthal: piano; Nicki Parrott: bass; Tim Horner: drums; Brandon Lee: trumpet, flugelhorn (1,3,6,7,9,10); Noah Bless: trombone (2,3,6,7,9,10).

from @critical jazz.com

C Dunlap ,

Great Music

Fantastic Music. I have listened to Mark for a long time and he has the best music. This is wonderful. Keep making music!