- Money Mark
Many listeners may not recognize this keyboard mercenary, but a quick gander at Money Mark's résumé will reveal that the former L.A. Lakers ball boy has had a hand in a host of well-known productions. He helped transform the Beastie Boys from a party band into semiserious musicians; lent his textured keyboards to Carlos Santana's gazillion-times platinum smash, Supernatural; helped create the bitchin' '60s vibe on the late Ted Demme's cult hit Blow; and collaborated with just-left-of-convention artists such as Femi Kuti, Beck, and Prince Paul.
Fans of the sprawling, ethereal songscapes Money Mark crafted for the Beastie Boys won't be disappointed by Mark's latest, Change Is Coming, a heavy yet lighthearted romp through 12 avant-garde instrumentals. Mark releases his brand of instrumental mayhem straight out of the gate with "Information Contraband," a rebellious morsel meant to make the listener drunk with funk. This track has Beastie Boys written all over it. "Caught Without a Race" plays on Mark's half-Japanese, half-Mexican heritage, with a horn fandango reminiscent of Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis. It's loungy without being retro. "Soul Drive Sixth Avenue," on the other hand, sounds as if it were grafted from a '70s porn flick. The baritone sax bumps and grinds better than John Holmes in his heyday. All told, Money Mark continues to deliver easily digestible compositions to nourish all the hungry little music purists out there who've gotten scurvy on a steady diet of cheesy pop acts.