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Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck by Mark Zaleski

Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck by Mark Zaleski - Album cover

Label: Origin
Year: 2021
Released on LP: No
Released on CD: Yes


1. Blue Rondo à la Turk 6:30
2. The Duke 7:05
3. Softly, William, Softly 8:16
4. Unsquare Dance 5:24
5. They Say I Look Like God 5:40
6. The Golden Horn 6:44
7. Fujiyama 5:37



Mark Zaleski - alto/soprano saxophone
Jon Bean - tenor saxophone
Glenn Zaleski - piano
Mark Cocheo - guitar
Danny Weller - upright/electric bass
Oscar Suchanek - drums
Michael Mayo - vocals (5)

Origin Records press reelase ©

Boston-based saxophonist, Mark Zaleski, pays tribute to one of his mentors, revisiting several of Dave Brubeck's more vital works and filtering them through a modern lens. Mark and his brother, pianist Glenn Zaleski, were two of the first students selected to the Dave Brubeck Institute, where they shared the stage with him at the Library of Congress and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Brubeck always encouraged Mark to "find his own voice," and he does just that by offering alluring sonic landscapes for Brubeck's melodies and making striking choices in groove and orchestration. From the searing guitar work and fiery New Orleans funk of "Unsquare Dance," to the classically inspired opening of "Softly, William, Softly," or the epic "They Say I Look Like God," with the chilling vocals of Michael Mayo, the joy and respect Zaleski has for his mentor's memory is evident and heartening.


Makingascene.org ©

Our Time is far edgier than one might guess, considering that the Mark Zaleski Band is reimagining the music of Dave Brubeck. Mark Zaleski is featured here on alto and soprano saxophone alongside tenor saxophonist Jon Bean, pianist Glenn Zaleski, guitarist Mark Cocheo, bassist Danny Weller, and drummer Oscar Suchanek. In addition, Our Time features guest vocalist Michael Mayo on Brubeck’s “They Say I Look Like God”.

The album is a pay back of sorts as Zaleski is an early graduate of the Dave Brubeck Institute in California and credits Dave and Iola Brubeck as formative influences on his style. Brother Glenn followed Mark to the Institute two years later. Although the liner notes wax eloquent about the warmth of the Brubecks, who he met when they were in their eighties, this quote may well be the foundation on which this album is built. Zaleski and his bandmates were preparing for their first show with Brubeck and Christian McBride at the Library of Congress – “Dave listened to us play his ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’ and we played it exactly the way it sounded on his recording. We thought we were doing excellent work by studying the master doing things his way but playing this tune like Dave did very much upset him. He insisted that if we were going to play his music, it’s imperative that we ‘find our own voice.’ Only now, 16 years after I finished my time at the Brubeck Institute, I think I’m truly ready to take on that challenge.”

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