Mark Clifford is a vibraphone player – a very good one, and he writes music too. I met him a few years ago at MamaBuzz Cafe, where he was playing in duo with a bassist. A random encounter that has proved to be fruitful – he’s definitely one of my favorite musicians to work with, as he’s a great player, an interesting composer, and he keeps pushing himself. He’s got a lot of interests musically, but not eccentric. We’ve played together notably in a quintet called “These Are Our Hours”, my new group “Golden Age” and a recent collaborative quartet with Kyle Bruckmann and Anton Hatwich. The group he leads is called Dirty Snacks, and it brings together a few of his interests including through composed song forms, stretched over bars polyrhythms and variety of orchestration into an indie rock-ish starting point. We played at the Makeout Room on June 3rd at the Makeout Monday – the long running monthly show in the Mission. We shared the bill with Karl Evangelista’s Grex and Moe! Staiano’s Surplus 1980.
The lineup for this show, and the one Mark wants to stick to (I think) was Mark, vibes & voice; Elise Cumberland, voice; Hannah van Loon, violin; myself, alto sax& bass clarinet; Marty McGinn, keyboard; Scott Brown, electric bass; and Geneva Harrison, drums. A strong lineup for sure. We were able to really work on the material and the show felt great – the most complex of the tunes not giving any problems, excellent performances from everyone in the group, and a crowd that showed up early to actually listen! If you’ve ever wanted to see a vibraphonist lead a band and sing at the same time (on only a few tunes), then you’ll want to keep an eye out for the next show.