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Mary Marshall

Mary Marshall

Mary Marshall

How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?

This album was an emotional outlet for a roller coaster, strictly long distance relationship through phone talk, with my best friend from high school whom I had never dated, but finally revealed how he had loved me through the years and I had no clue. I discovered that I had these feelings too over the years. We still haven’t seen each other for many, many years, but talk daily on the phone, cooking together, talking about our childhood experiences, learning all the little nuances of each other.

When I get ticked off, I record a track. If I have a long, very loving conversation, I record again, and so on. Soon there was an album called Phone Phonics which means, conversing through music.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?

Finding the perfect bass line or chord progression that says what I’m feeling. My body knows when it is right... I get this tingly feeling.

How would you finish this sentence? “I don’t like to go a day without_________?

Meditation and going over my reactions to people that day. Going over what areas in my life need improvement and what areas are terrific.

If you were to choose to learn a new instrument that you’ve never played before, what instrument might that be?

That instrument would be the cello. I have perfect pitch so I wouldn’t be able to play a transposing instrument like the saxophone or trumpet. The french horn would be bad news for me!

Is being one of the few prominent women performers mostly fulfilling, or do you find it to be a challenge?

I don’t put myself in a gender category. I have been the only female instrumental performer in groups since junior high. I was just “one of the guys” but considered by them to be extremely gifted. That was the term that was always a ubiquitous constant when describing what I do. I am a classical improvisationist, also. I wrote a book called “Improvisation Beyond Baroque” which was required reading when I was teaching at Concordia College Moorhead. It is not available to the public, however.

What would your top “desert island” classic albums be, regardless of genre; the albums you turn to time after time for your own personal enjoyment and inspiration?

I play Franz Liszt’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” on the piano and listen to the recording a lot. I also listen to and study Mily Balakirev’s Islamey - Orientalische Fantasie before I have to play an important jazz concert. I have to be able to play effortlessly and without being hindered by technical stumbling blocks so that I can just play what I hear in my head. If I just want to “chill” I listen to Faure’s Requiem, especially “In Paradisum.”

If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history, alive or dead, and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?

That definitely would be Herbie Hancock.

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