“Having played with Mark in Duo and in Quartet, I’ve always been a fan of his Vibraphone playing. Imagine my surprise upon hearing this recording of him playing piano. He has chops, he is creative, he has a beautiful light touch, he comps great and he is a really good composer. If you’re reading this, that means you have the recording so you know what I’m talking about. I hope to hear more of Mark Sherman at the piano!!” -Kenny Barron
“If you like piano playing that swings delivered with a crystal clear touch and plenty of melodic and harmonic invention you’re going to love Mark Sherman” -Mike LeDonne
“Mark Sherman sounds so good and plays his tail off. He is skilled and not afraid to burn.” - Donald Vega
"This outing makes the case that, in addition to his other talents, Sherman is a top-notch jazz pianist." - Scott Yanow, NYC Jazz Record
"Mark is one of those pianists I could listen to all day... This quartet is one tight, pretty package." - Marc Myers, JazzWax
About Bright Light
Mark Sherman is extremely unfair. For decades he was a first-call percussionist on Broadway, propelling many of the best-selling shows whose music we all know. But then he decided to focus on the vibraphone, becoming a world leader on the unheralded instrument as he showcased his remarkable songwriting ability in album after album. And now he is focused on the piano, bringing a delicate depth of feeling and gentle virtuosity to one of the staple instruments of jazz. Unfair? That much skill should be illegal.
Lucky for us it isn’t. ‘Bright Light’ is Mark’s latest statement from behind the keyboard, and what an elegant and beautiful statement it is. At a time when much of contemporary jazz revolves around playing as many notes as possible, Mark is instead paying attention to emotion and feeling, which is what the music should rightly be about.
From the sensitivity of ‘Suddenly’ — Mark wrote it immediately after the unexpected death of his great colleague Frank Kimbrough — to his tender interpretation of the classic ‘Cry Me A River’ — originally written for Ella Fitzgerald nearly 75 years ago — this record is steeped in feeling. This music sings. It breathes. It is lovely in every way.
Joe Magnarelli (trumpet and flugelhorn) dances in and out beautifully, sometimes flashing his tremendous be-bop chops, and other times sounding just playful or plaintive as the mood dictates. Dean Johnson (bass) and Tim Horner (drums) have just the right approach for this music: nothing too flashy, but everything under maximum control. They leave space for the best things to happen.
‘I think this is the best presentation I have ever done on piano’, Mark says. And if you’re reading these words, you’re hearing why right now. ‘Bright Light’ is a delight from start to finish. And if he says there won’t be more to come — well that’s unfair too. -Marc Carnegie