A popular local jazz musician and educator has just completed his first album -- and it's getting a release on a major label. Drummer Tom Marko is ISU's jazz director and a busy area musician, working with a variety of jazz groups. Now he's stepping into the spotlight with his first release as a leader: "Inner Light."
Although Marko has appeared on a wide variety of other local musician's albums, he only recently got around to writing material for and recording his own. No major conspiracy here. Marko's just been busy as an educator, performer and family man.
"Inner Light" reveals a variety of moods, from the ballad "Blue October" to the upbeat Latin infused "Samba de los Markos." Marko turned to a number of his local musician buddies to join him on this CD, including vibe man and pianist, Kevin Hart, plus Manny Bedi, who plays tabla, guitarist Harold Green, pianist Mike Stryker, bassist Andy Crawford and sax man Doug Stone, a Peoria native.
Marko invited nationally-known trumpeter Scott Wendholt to join in on the CD. "I've been listening to Scott since I was 18, when I was first getting into jazz. I saw a bunch of videos that were tributes to Buddy Rich and they featured Scott. His name just came up time after time."
All the songs on Marko's new CD are originals, including the title track, "Inner Light." He like the name, and decided to dub his band the same. Marko submitted the CD to Summit Records, a major jazz label. They liked it and agreed to release it. It's due to be released in October.