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MARK KNOX applied a broad vision to his most recent recording. At first hearing, PLACES
(Dreambox Media 1014) appears focused on the relation of American music to the musics of east
Asia. However, it goes farther than that, including Latin American clavé and African polyrhythms and
feral calls. Knox creates most of the music, and certainly a majority of the moods, on Places,
through keyboard work, samples, vocals and programmed percussion.

Still, a few of Knox’s Philadelphia-based musical associates (John Swana, tpt; Chris
Farr, ss, ts; Denis DiBlasio, flt; Tony Miceli, vib; Gerald Veasley, b; Jim Miller, d; Doc Gibbs, perc;
Yoshiko Matsui, Ngàn Khoi Children’s Chorus, vcl. 2006, Philadelphia, PA), and especially bassist
Gerald Veasley, contribute to the cultural allusions of Knox’s soundscapes. The tracks that remain in
the listener’s consciousness after the music has stopped are those within the “Sanbusaku Nippon”
suite that recall Knox’s first trip to Japan. For “Hiroshima,” Knox recorded the Ngàn Khoi
Children’s Chorus as well as the voice of Japanese lyricist Yoshiko Matsui. After its initial Tokyo sub-way
sounds, “And Tokyo Too” includes again Veasley’s throbbing bass lines and Farr’s swinging
saxophone improvisation. The Vietnamese folksong, “Evening Song,” features for a change Veasley’s
lead on electric bass as Farr repeats Veasley’s melodic phrases until he too solos over Knox’s orchestral effects.

The song titles on keyboardist Mark Knox' Places give you a good idea of what you're about to hear . . . .
"Salamanca" and the title track rise to the top, rich groove-fusion tapestries of keys, vibes, trumpet and
vocalese swirling around easy and memorable melodies. 
The Far East is obviously a special place for Knox. A three-song interlude on three Japanese cities captures his impressions . . . .
Knox is a longtime producer and keyboardist for bassist Gerald Veasley, who performs here, as does another Veasley accompanist, percussion Doc Gibbs of Emeril Live fame.

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