Friday, May 19, 2006

Today It's Real.

First, thanks to everyone who has contributed to this memorial. I come here ever day to read the posts and comments. It really helps.
The toughest thing about Mark's death has been accepting the reality of it. I haven't had direct contact with him since he moved west, so it's hard to believe he's not still out there somewhere. For years, I've had it in the back of my mind that one day he would just fall by a Honk gig at Dick's and tear us all a new one. "Hey Mark, Great to see you again!" You know? He had such a gift for groove, energy from way down deep. If you missed Claudia's poem "Distant Drummer" you should definitely find that post. It captures Mark's musical persona perfectly.
Well today, quite by coincidence, Mark's death came home to me. Every day I wake my kids for school with a song or two that's stored on my PC. This morning I grabbed the Blanton-Webster band recording of Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore". No special reason, just hadn't heard that one in awhile and kids love old time swing. As it happens, the next thing on my hard drive was the Honk recording of "Don't You Methyl With My Ethyl" from the Saturn Swings CD (alphabetical order, eh). If you don't know the recording, it's a classic example of Brian Casey's lyric wit. Mark sings the lead (really well) and keeps things simmering from the kit too. We all had a great time making that recording. Well, hearing Mark's voice warm and vibrant from all those years ago was all it took to push me over. Suddenly, his death was real to me. Horrible and impossible, but real.
Maybe we should all record something for the future, even if it's just a few corny jokes or a short howdy. It secures a kind of imortality. More importantly, it really comforts those left behind. We're lucky to have so many recordings of Mark. I know he loved making them. It was always a great pleasure to play with him, whether it was recorded or not.
Maybe one of the other Honkers can tell the story of the "Singha" drum kit. I don't remember anymore.
Maybe I'll fall by your gig someday Mark.
"Mr. Engineer, faders up!"

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