Marker and Parker
by Marc Zegans

Reviews

pure rock n roll poetry

Posted on Apr 27, 2010 by caroline ratner

Rating: 5 out of 5

One of the things I love about Marker and Parker is the way Marc uses his voice in so many different ways to perform this remarkable collection of poems. Don Parker’s piano compliments the mood of the poems and demonstrates Marc’s talent as writer but also as a performer, as he uses his voice as a powerful tool to bring to life the character, content, mood and sentiments of his poems.
Some are light and easy, such as Rack ‘Em which is funny, sassy and cute--a reminder of all those fun, slightly edgy misspent youthful hours hanging out in seedy places. Similarly Mile High, is light, flirty and sexy. Him is extraordinarily painful to bear, as it evokes the dehumanising experience of being just another body on a hospital trolley: You can hear the fear, sadness and loneliness in Marc’s voice as he describes what it’s like to feel scared, alone, abandoned and in pain as the doctors clinically go about their business of fixing his body, arrogantly proud of their expertise and lifesaving skills, but ignorant of their inability to meet this patients’ emotional and spiritual needs. All that was needed was a kind and compassionate attitude and maybe someone to hold his hand and whisper in his ear that he was going to be all right; instead, the doctors simply talk about "him". Too Fucked to Drink is an important, complex commentary on the past 30 years of political history. It skilfully makes some extremely powerful statements about contemporary society, the political and cultural changes that took place in the period between 1980 and the present, and about how the country took various ideological twists and turns and got to where it is today.
Altogether this is pure rock n roll poetry, spoken word at its most enjoyable and accessible, a pleasure to listen to from start to finish – enjoy!

Remarkable

Posted on Apr 27, 2010 by Arthur Roberts

Rating: 5 out of 5

I've followed Zegans' work for several years, and can say with some confidence: if you're interested in the spiritual landscape of 21st century America, check out this CD. While much of it will have you listening with a kind of amazed glee, Zegans' ambitions here are real. He's playing for keeps, and his poetic force is staggering. This is a seasoned artist turning his gaze on one thing after another, and letting it rip. He's accompanied by another artist who knows the same country. The result is searing, sensual, stark; raw, rousing, rich; powerful, playful, purposive... In Zegans we have--at last--a contemporary poet with a damn good chance of being remembered a hundred years down the road.

Loved this!

Posted on Apr 24, 2010 by carol steinfeld

Rating: 5 out of 5

I love listening to this in the car and while washing dishes. It takes me down to the elemental in its small stories and leaves me happy.

Marker and Parker has arrived

Posted on Apr 19, 2010 by Brendyn Schneider

Rating: 5 out of 5

This album swaggers. There's Tom Waits in there but, at times, it also reminds me of Bob Pollard's musings on Guided By Voices albums. It's not just spoken word. It's not just jazz. In a word, Marker and Parker is simply "cool." Add it to your record collection and put it on when your friends come by.

Transportational Therapy

Posted on Apr 16, 2010 by j dub

Rating: 5 out of 5

Sexy, jazzy, smart and smokey...I'm pulled by my suddenly-moving hips into a world that I can only describe as the soundtrack to a film (noir) starring me & Tom Waits...with Uma Thurman in drag sitting in a dimly-lit corner tapping her feet and making eyes at the both of us.







Marker & Parker Howls.

Posted on Apr 09, 2010 by Jennifer DeBell

Rating: 5 out of 5


If we took a long moment to truly consider how we view our present selves versus the selves—and there are at least a few—we embodied in the past,  we might find that every new endeavor is a culmination of the experiences that came before, no matter how indirect or hidden from our consciousness. "Back in my youth..." you might begin, only to describe some aspect of your present self that found its seed in your wild 20s, or your shattered childhood, or the illness that almost took your life. This notion came to mind when I encountered Marc Zegans’ new CD, Marker & Parker, which is nothing if not 20th Century American rebellion revisited.  

Poet and performer, Zegans drinks liquid pictures and blows them gently, harshly, joyfully, jaggedly onto the canvas of the mind's eye. Along with pianist Don Parker, Zegans assaults the listener, and I mean this in the best way, with punk-energetic images of youthful abandon in "Rack 'Em" and especially, "Mile High": the rank saltiness of Oakland nights ("Bar Rag"):


              funny how drink erases days/leaving years standing stark.

the unblinking rage with which he faces off death in "Sunken Contents":

              unlike the rising astronauts' vacuum ballet/ you/ are dancing in heavy liquid


 and, not the least, an affectionate, deeply considered (and excellently titled) response to Ginsburg's seminal poem, “Howl” ("Too Fucked To Drink").

To listen to Marker & Parker is to take a trip through Zegans’ life, in a sense: There is the love letter to Walt Whitman and “Leaves of Grass”;  here are the San Francisco years; over there, that golden span of time spent studying Ginsburg and his comrades; and here again, embedded throughout this collection, word by word, is Zegans arrived at maturity—or if we’re considering ourselves as constantly adding versions of self—into a kind of Mobius infinity—let’s call it the (current) mature consideration of his youth.

But let's not leave out, as he never would, the music! Zegans references Honkytonk piano in "Love that Waitress Blues", and more obliquely, as the album progresses, Americana, murder ballads, the Harlem Renaissance, Charlie Parker's super-sultry climb towards the 1950s, Nick Cave, definitely, in spirit, and even a nod to Leonard Cohen, for this listener, by way of recurring images of neon-lit doomed romance ("Mile High"). Besides this, listen closely to the langorous cadence woven into the poems themselves, and to Don Parker's jazz piano suffusion; poems as punctuation to jazz, and with each note, the piano holding Zegans'  language aloft.

The beauty of spoken word performance must be its direct opportunities to combine poetic language with musical language, with performance, with the visual, and, depending on the artist, the slip knot of art to its historical and political context. Speaking for my (current) self, I’d say that on this record, Marc Zegans howls for joy.

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