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Music Notes for Sept. 17, 2009

Contemporary Jazz in the Valley

By Mary-Ann Brandon

WALSENBURG- Since moving from San Francisco to Walsenburg in 2001, Mark Craddock has carved out his niche in the local music scene.  During the mid 1990’s Mark began playing saxophone professionally.  After putting in his time playing at local Blues jams, Regi Harvey hired him to be part of the house band at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland and from there he was off to the races.  He became a member of Harvey′s Blues/Rock band “Thunder Blue”.  Around this time he also became a member of “The Lab Rats” an experimental free Jazz group.  This led to session and club work with many notable artists in the bay area. 

    After moving to Walsenburg Mark began playing with local musicians Brent and Babz Seawell, Steve Hohn and Glen Wilbanks.  During this period he formed his own band “Blue Monday”.

    In 2004 Mark met recording artist Ken Saydak and Nashville record producer Fred James.  This led to Mark being invited to play with Ken Saydak throughout Colorado and New Mexico. 

    The current band lineup is a trio consisting of Craddock on saxophone, Tom Reid on bass and David Zehring on drums.  It was this trio that caught the ear of Fred James during the summer of 2007.  Says James, “Mark shows real promise as a new voice in contemporary Jazz songwriting”.  The encouragement led to a recording project for Bluesland Productions, produced by Steve Hohn, that took place at Hohn’s “Fishing Hole” recording studio in Walsenburg.  This recording resulted in a CD entitled “Goodbye Blue Monday” by the Mark Craddock Trio featuring Ken Saydak.  The project was released earlier in 2009 by Los Angeles record company "Snail Worx". 

    Craddock′s songs are hooky, and very melodic.  If you are a fan of classic Blue Note or Prestige Jazz recordings try to imagine just that with a modern jam band twist.   There is a vintage quality about the sound that is extremely easy on the ears without being too precious in its homage to the past.  Make no mistake, this is a thoroughly modern recording.

    Currently, Craddock is in the process of trying to organize a record release concert, hopefully, sometime in October or November.  Check back often for news releases regarding this upcoming concert, it will be one that any Jazz fan in the area will not want to miss 

    If Mark Craddock has his way, Huerfano County may one day be known not only for its amazing natural beauty but also as the birthplace of some fine Jazz music.

    Note:  “Goodbye Blue Monday” is currently available for downloading from Rhapsody, Amazon.com, Napster,  i tunes, and e-Music.  You can also visit Mark Craddock’s website at jazz.markcraddock.com or his record company at www.snailworx.com.