The JMood Records Family are saddened by the loss of our friend , Mark Colby.
I first met Mark Colby in Chicago, 2016 performing at the Brookfield Jazz Society. Some friends of Roberto Magris had assembled a unit to perform when they found out Roberto was coming from Italy to Chicago to open some new opportunities.
I remember hearing Mark for the first time on this occasion and saying to myself ,“where has this guy been all my life!” His tone ,and technique were great, and, I could sense I was in the presence of a very special talent, without knowing his musical history.
After the performance, I approached Mark and said how much I loved his playing, and that we need to do some things together. With his quick wit he said, yeah, yeah, yeah…! I said, no man, I really mean this…! I want to record you. We had become friends ever since.
In 2017, and, for the next few years, I recorded him along with JMood Records International jazz pianist Roberto Magris, and some other great talent, which, also included music icon, Ira Sullivan.
Ira was also a mentor to Mark in the early years of his music career, even up to this point. The two were reunited in Miami on the “SunStone” project recorded at the historical Criteria/Hit Factory Studio “A” in Miami, Florida.
Our last performance and recording together was in November 2019. We were in Chicago for a performance at the Jazz Showcase, followed by a studio recording with Eric Hochberg, and, Roberto Magris (Mark had introduced us to Eric several years prior). That project is yet to be released entitled, “Shuffling Ivories”, and afterward, we recorded a duo project with Mark entitled, “Side By Side”, with Roberto Magris on piano, and Mark Colby on sax.
Mark was a musical big brother to me. We talked off and on thru out the years about recording, jazz music history, and most of all life in general.
Chicago is a tough market for outsiders, artist managers and an independent jazz label like mine. Several jazz clubs snubbed us. However, Mark went to bat for us on several occasions, assisted us in getting booked at the Jazz Showcase on several occasions, and , we recorded a couple landmark recordings for JMood Records. Mark loved to record, perform, and connect on a deep level.
My family and I spend quality time with Mark in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Miami talking about his life and time in South Florida, performing with jazz greats of the past, and gigging around in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
One funny story that we have talked about off and on and that made us all laugh, was a flight we booked for him from Chicago to Miami for the “SunStone” recording project.
We were trying out a new airline to save a few bucks, and the whole experience became a nightmare! My wife and I had to run interference several times before he left Chicago to Miami and on his return trip from Miami to Chicago. We apologized, laughed, and made up over a good steak dinner. However, it was the running joke for the rest of our trip in Miami and we promised not to use that airline ever again!
Mark was quick witted, good humored, friendly, and a talented soloist and musician. His own audio recordings as leader of the past the last few years, showcase his technique, tone, and musicality and knowledge of the audio recording process.
I suggest checking them out if you have not already. Mark Colby has also been nominated several times around the world by his peers as one of the best sax men of his generation. We last communicated in June and August 2020.
We will miss him.
Rest up my friend!