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Mark Walker previews his Martyrs' performance on the Chicago Jazz Audio Experience Podcast

Mark Walker Chicago Jazz Audio Experience Podcast
Mark Walker is coming to Martyrs in Chicago on September 12th

Grammy Award–winning drummer, percussionist, author, and educator, Mark Walker talks with Mike Jeffers on the Chicago Jazz Audio Experience Podcast about his upcoming performance on September 12th at Martyrs' in Chicago, his new release "You Get What You Give", his time growing up in Chicago, working with some of the legends of the jazz and Latin jazz scene and much more. 

Listen the to Full Podcast Below

Mike Jeffers: Hey everybody. It's Mike Jeffers, Chicago Jazz magazine, Chicago and welcome to these Chicago jazz audio experience podcast. I am pleased to be on the phone today with a Chicago native drummer who's toured all over the world. Mark Walker is a grammy award winning drummer, composer, educator, and he is coming into town September 12th at Martyrs, which of course is at 3855 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. This is the second time he's coming back to Martyrs the same year, which is pretty exciting. He's going to have a smokin band. It's a WDCB event that starts at 8pm. Mark, I'm glad you could take a few minutes. I know you're in Germany doing some gigs, so we'll talk a little bit about that too, but I'm glad we finally connected here and it's exciting that you're coming back to town with your own group.

Mark Walker: Well thanks Mike. It's a real pleasure to be here and talk to you.

Mike Jeffers: Yeah, I mean the the fact you're coming back to Martyrs, which is a great room. But let's talk a little bit, because in March you were in town doing a gig with your band, Mark Walker and friends, which was kind of a CD release show but we talked before we started and you didn't actually have physical copies, but now you have physical copies. So it's almost like a double CD release here happening in Chicago for your new recording "You get what you give." So let's talk about who's on the Gig and what people can expect to hear that night because I looked over the guys that are playing and I think everybody on this call is going to know some of the names. So let's talk a little bit about that.

Mark Walker: Sounds good. Well, the first person I called was Jim Trompeter because I had worked with him a lot back in the nineties in Chicago. We had a band together and I was working for looking for players so he recommended Victor Garcia on trumpet and John Wojciechowski on tenor and soprano. These guys are just wonderful, super prepared and great guys too. On bass we have Eric Hochberg who I've been playing with in many variations for many, many years. So he sounds great and my brother on percussion, Joe Rendon.

Mike Jeffers: You know it's funny because I put together a jazz fest here in Chicago in August and Joe is in the band Conjunto and he came out and couldn't be nicer, but man, what a monster. So you guys have played together in the past?

Mark Walker: Yeah, sometimes we play in Chicago with Paquito D'Rivera, I suggested him to Paquito one time and he called him and it's always been a great experience.

Mike Jeffers: Let's talk about your influences, you are heavily influenced by Latin music. How difficult is it or how important is it for you as a drum set player specifically to lock in or find that percussionist that you can just lock in with? Because it seems to me like no matter what's happening in the band, it's so important to find somebody like minded to be able to lock in with who is playing percussion. I mean you guys have to be on the same page in order for it to really groove, right?

Mark Walker: Yes. Well, you know, you don't always have to know the person because I've stepped into situations where I didn't know the percussionist at all, but it's like a conversation. If you're sensitive to what's going on, then you can make it work. If you try to overplay or you know express your dominance or whatever, it's not going to happen. It's always kind of a conversation. So it's always a matter of give and take and what's really important and what really helps me the most is listening to the different styles repeatedly over a long period of time to really get familiar with it myself almost like getting nutrients out of certain foods, you know, it becomes part of you, then you can walk in and then make it work. So if I'm working with Joe, I know he's going to play mostly congas and I don't play the same type of patterns that he plays. I play something that works with it. So a complementing it whatever's there or thinking about what's there and thinking about how your part would fit into all of that. You know, it's really important.

Listen to the rest of the interview on the podcast below.

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