July 23, 2005

Secret Garden Snippet - Mark Hollingsworth

Readers of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden will know it’s the place to go for a British perspective on all that’s good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. In order to bring you more of the news more of the time this latest Secret Garden Snippet delivers another current sound bite from the adult contemporary scene. A CD well worth looking out for is the debut release from sax player Mark Hollingsworth. With On The Mark he has teamed up with veteran writer and producer James Wirrick to deliver nine sparkling originals and one quality cover that is sure to move this long time session and sideman to center stage.

A graduate of Berklee, firmly centered in Los Angeles but with his roots in his home town of Chicago, Hollingsworth has worked with top notch artists from Stevie Wonder to Santana and Ray Charles to Quincy Jones. For the last three years he has been a featured member of the Greg Adams band and it was while touring that people began asking if he had his own solo album. Consequently the idea for On The Mark was born.

The title cut, dedicated to his childhood hero Tom Scott, is all about the thrusting sax that one would associate with Scott himself while ‘Catch This’, another dedication, this time to Cannonball Adderley, is less smooth and more funky but none the worse for that. The CD is full of nice surprises from the Latin rhythm and superior guitar work of James Wirrick on ‘Bahia Moonlight’ to the big brassy sound of ‘Hot Nights’. Other standouts include the delightfully R & B tinged cover of the Jeffrey Osborne recording ‘Back In Love Again’, featuring excellent backing vocals from Kelly Moneymaker and Bernadette Barlow, and ‘Sunset Rose’, catchy yet mellow and a superb example of classic west coast smooth jazz. Two personal favorites are the haunting, Boney James like ‘Prairie Rains’ and the catchy feel good ‘Steppin Up’.

All in all On The Mark is a well crafted collection that deserves to hold its own in the ultra competitive market of smooth jazz saxophone. Want to know more? Want to add a snippet of your own? E-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at July 23, 2005 6:02 PM