From the liner notes to "Nice Work If you Can Get It" -


"From the very first notes of 'Love Walked In,' Mark Lopeman shows that he is a formidable player. His distinctive, non-derivative sound and conception, while mostly rooted in the 1950s, is neither cookie-cutter-ish nor predictable. But what is perhaps most remarkable is that this richly-experienced musician waited until his early fifties to make his first album as a leader. .....


Lopeman's choices in repertoire are intriguing and unhackneyed: Gershwin's still-durable "Love Walked In" (here done with the verse), four songs that are associated with Frank Sinatra ("My Kind Of Girl, " "I'm A Fool To Want You," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and "Everything Happens To Me"), two classical-cum-pop adaptations, a forgotten Michel Legrand melody from his score to The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, a seldom-performed Joni Mitchell opus, Fats Waller's classic "Jitterbug Waltz," and two first-rate Lopeman originals. On the pieces played by the sextet, Lopeman's arrangements are frequently much more than the perfunctory head-solos-head charts most often heard on jazz small-group recordings. Hear "Jitterbug Waltz" (with soprano lead) and both of Lopeman's own compositions ("Intentions"with its subtle clarinet lead, "World Economy Blues" in collaboration with Chris Byars) as illustrations of his scoring skills.


As a soloist, Lopeman is heard here primarily on tenor saxophone, and he has an arresting voice. His models come primarily from 1950s pre-John Coltrane sources: Lucky Thompson, Hank Mobley, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Warne Marsh, Harold Land, and Sonny Rollins. He obviously has listened well to all of them and many others and has come up with a compelling synthesis that sounds utterly personal and undated. His soprano saxophone, heard on "Jitterbug Waltz" and "Woodstock," is a nice change of pace, displaying elements of Coltrane, Sims, and Thompson.


Those of us who have known and respected Mark Lopeman since his arrival in New York three decades ago are delighted that he finally has decided to put his singular talents in the spotlight."

-Bill Kirchner, August 2011

(Bill Kirchner is a saxophonist, composer-arranger, bandleader, jazz historian, record and radio producer and educator.)