We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Diamond and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mark, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?

As musicians, we often feel that people take what we do for granted, playing in clubs with TVs on, folks talking away while we’re performing, regularly being asked, “so what do you really do for a living?”, and the like. That said, I always knew that music had a real purpose in the world, and there is a particular moment when this became extremely apparent to me in a very tangible way.

It was THAT DAY, September 11, 2001, my jazz trio was hired to play for an international, corporate event at The Denver Aquarium, and we were booked nearly a year in advance. So, the tragedy had occurred that morning, the world was turned upside down and everyone was in panic mode! The first of numerous phone calls had begun, with the company contact person, the venue, the caterer, the event planner and me, all trying to figure out what to do, if the event should even go on, and is the world coming to an end!!! After much discussion, it was determined that since all of the people involved were already in Denver, there was a “no fly zone” in effect nationwide, the food was prepared and everything was ready to go, that the event would still take place.
As the guests arrived, we were in an area playing background music while everyone was mingling and talking about the event of the day. Instead of being a festive, joyous gathering, of course it was very somber, and there was only one thing on everyone’s mind. So, we’re playing, people are talking and munching and drinking, strolling around looking at the sea creatures and then it happened. It was like Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”. First, one person stopped in front of the band and started paying attention and listening to the music. Then another, then a few more. Before long, there were dozens of people standing shoulder to shoulder, people from all over the world, many different shades of skin and unique types of garbs, all standing together, watching, listening, letting the music pour over and through them. For a few minutes, everyone forgot about the tragic event that had happened only a few hours earlier that day. The music washed over all of us, and the band could feel this amazing energy happening, and when we finished the song, which was titled, “Here’s That Rainy Day”, the folks just stood there, clapping, smiling, feeling as though for a moment, a giant weight had been lifted from all of our shoulders, and then they went back to socializing.

 In that moment, I realized how powerful and healing music can be, and since that day, I consider what I do for a living, what we do as musicians, is that we are “Soul Soothers”! I feel that it is an honor and a privilege as my “job”, my purpose in this life, to “help the community and the world”, including myself, by soothing souls!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I am definitely blessed to be one of the people in the world who has a passion! So many folks don’t necessarily know, or have that in their lives, so I acknowledge that, and appreciate the journey that music is for me. Being a musician, or any type of artist, takes an immense amount of self-determination and drive. No one can MAKE you do this but you. I like to say that “I work all day, then I go to work”! That means that besides learning music, practicing my bass, answering calls, responding to emails, hiring musicians, dealing with club owners, agents and clients, writing up and sending out contracts, etc. during the day, then it’s time to pack up gear and drive to work, “the gig”, which is the result of everything mentioned before.

It IS NOT EASY, but as they say, with great risks, (for example, not having an ounce of job security, sometimes dealing with many other strong personalities, the work can be weather dependent, venues close or change what they do, travel always has its unknowns too), comes great rewards, (for example, following your passion, honing a craft, seeing the world because of your music, working with ultra-talented people, meeting and performing for folks from around the world, loving what you do!) There’s the joke, “how do you make a musician complain? Give them a gig!” Sure, there’s an element of truth to that, speaking for myself anyway, but the pros still outweigh the cons by a long shot!

Something that perhaps sets me apart from others on a musical level is the diversity that I offer. I love and play in so many genres, each of which I have specialized in along the way, concentrating on a particular style until I felt that I at least had a handle on some of the nuances to be authentic. Opening up all of these avenues absolutely helps me to be a more employable musician!

Some lessons I’ve learned along the way are to be patient, appreciative, prepared, on time, supportive, outspoken, open minded, humble, to keep a good attitude when things fall apart around me, and to be a leader and/or a follower, depending upon what’s called for.

I’d love the world to know how seriously I take what I do, and want them to know that they’re getting the real deal when they hire me and any of my groups. We want everyone to be moved, to dance, to listen, to enjoy the shared experience, and have a great memory of our time together. Of course, all of this is on hold until we can once again gather together safely…..the pandemic has been so hard for all of us, everywhere, so here’s to better days ahead!!!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I LOVE taking friends from other places who come to visit for the entire Trail Ridge Road experience (during the warm weather months)! Then for some great music, food and drink we’d spend time at Nocturne, Dazzle, Vine Street Pub & Brewery, and I also love Ocean Prime, where I performed for many years before Covid arrived! The Denver Botanic Gardens are so interesting and beautiful! A visit to one of our local dispensaries is always a trip, (maybe) pun intended! It’s been so long since I’ve been out and about in a “normal” way, I know I’m forgetting some old faves!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As far as the music is concerned, I want to thank all of the amazing and more experienced musicians that have shared their stories, guidance and knowledge with me along the way, especially early in my career,  and more so, let me share the bandstand with them, even before I might’ve been ready to do so! Way too many names to mention, but noteworthy from my earlier days are Andy Weyl, Paul Romaine, Mark Klagstad, Keith Oxman, Fred Hess, Billy Tolles, Freddy Rodriguez, James Van Buren, Joe Bonner, Bruno Carr and Tim O’Brien, to name a few. And, I want to shoutout to all of my current wonderfully talented colleagues, who I also get to call my friends. I couldn’t do this without them!

But off of the bandstand is my wife of nearly 40 years, Karen, who has been the most supportive of my music career! Believe me, I KNOW and understand that it’s not easy to be married to a working musician! Our schedules are often like ships passing in the night. When our two children were little, I would be leaving her home to take care of them, and everything else while I was gone, either many nights a week, or sometimes for weeks at a time! While I practice and do “the business” of music, she organizes and takes care of so many other aspects of our lives to keep things running. And, she always helps with her sensitivity and insights on how I can do and be better, for myself and for others, so a BIG SHOUTOUT to you, Karen!!!

I also want to shout out to my kids, Dean and Sonya, for “getting” what I do. They never asked for things beyond our means and were also understanding and supportive of my life as a musician. Our family motto was, “we don’t have a lot of money, but we are very rich”! I am indeed a lucky guy!


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mark.diamond.524/

Image Credits
Jack Sasson Daily Camera Tim Ellis Sal DeVincenzo

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