On The Record: Mark Guiliana In 12 Songs

On The Corner Masthead

Mark Guiliana
In 12 Songs

September 8, 2023 | by Rusty Aceves

Mark Guiliana

Drummer and composer Mark Guiliana brings his Beat Music project to SFJAZZ on September 22 in a double bill with frequent collaborator Donny McCaslin's Quartet. We look back at Mark’s impressive career as a bandleader, sideman, and collaborator with these 12 tracks.

Heernt — “Locked in a Basement” from Locked in a Basement (2006)
Guiliana’s early band with saxophonist Zac Colwell and bassist Neal Persiani set the tone for much of the drummer’s later work. This title track features Guiliana doubling Persiani’s bassline on electric typewriter.

Avishai Cohen Trio — “Pinzin Kinzin” from Gently Disturbed (2007)
The Israeli bassist’s superb trio featuring Guiliana reached its zenith with this phenomenal release that marked the debut then 21-year-old Israeli pianist Shai Maestro, putting a fresh spin on the piano trio tradition. This track was co-written by the trio.

Jason Lindner — “FAR” from Gives You Now Vs. Now (2009)
Keyboard maverick Lindner debuted his freewheeling electro-jazz trio with Guiliana and Greek bassist/vocalist Panagiotis Andreou on this release, fully embracing hip-hop, indie rock and world-jazz to create a fresh, cutting edge expression of modern day New York.

Dhafer Youssef — “Odd Elegy” from Abu Nawas Rhapsody (2010)
Guiliana makes a major impression on Tunisian oud virtuoso Youssef’s 2010 release, featuring bassist Chris Jennings and piano star-in-the-making Tigran Hamasyan. This live video from the 2010 Jazz Sous les Pommiers festival captures their otherworldly musical telepathy.

Lionel Loueke — “Freedom Dance” from Heritage (2012)
Beninese guitar star Lionel Loueke broke free from his longstanding trio Gilfema for this sophomore Blue Note date, produced by Robert Glasper and featuring Guiliana and Glasper collaborator Derrick Hodge on bass. This entrancing track is the centerpiece.

Gretchen Parlato — “Butterfly” from Live in NYC (2013)
Thelonious Monk Competition-winning vocalist Parlato received a GRAMMY nomination for this session recorded live at New York’s Rockwood Music Hall. This cover of Herbie Hancock’s classic “Butterfly” features a deft turn by Guiliana.

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana — “Sleeping Giant” from Mehliana: Taming the Dragon (2014)
Piano great Brad Mehldau’s inspired embrace of electronic music could have no better foil than Guiliana, who brings stuttering drumming and beat programming to their debut release, credited to their mash-up persona, Mehliana.

Dave Douglas — “High Risk” from High Risk (2015)
Trumpeter and former SFJAZZ Collective member Douglas made rewarding forays into the intersection of jazz and electronic music with his High Risk project, featuring Guiliana, Groove Collective bassist Jonathan Maron, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Shigeto.

David Bowie — “Blackstar” from Blackstar (2016)
The rock icon’s final recording project was based around saxophonist Donny McCaslin’s working band including Guiliana, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and keyboardist Jason Lindner — a group Bowie saw at an NYC nightclub. The resulting album is a staggering final chapter for Bowie, and a tour de force for the band.

Donny McCaslin — “Shake Loose” from Beyond Now (2016)
Saxophonist McCaslin’s first post-Bowie recording project re-assembled the Blackstar band, and featured covers of two Bowie tracks in addition to re-worked versions of songs by Deadmau5 and Mutemath. This track, recorded live from NPR’s Tiny Desk, opens the album.

Beat Music — “BONES” from Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! (2019)
Guiliana’s deep connection to the beat making genius of artists like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher comes together as a masterfully realized full-length recording featuring keyboardists Jason Lindner, Jeff Babko, and Big Yuki, and bassists Chris Morrissey and Tim LeFebvre. Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

Mark Guiliana — “The Sound of Listening” from The Sound of Listening (2022)
Guiliana’s most recent album is clearly his most accomplished to date, featuring a blend of acoustic and electronic-based compositiions with a new version of his quartet including pianist Shai Maestro, saxophonist Jason Rigby, and bassist Chris Morrissey.

Mark Guiliana's Beat Music performs in a double bill with the Donny McCaslin Quartet in Miner Auditorium on September 22. More information here.

Originally posted October 31, 2018

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