Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mark O. / Jazz Ukes / BOSTON

Met Mark for the first time when he was performing a one-man concert on Mike DaSilva’s stage. Mark comes from a classical guitar background and plays the ukulele in jazzy-chord-melody arrangements. He has an enthusiasm for music and teaching others how to play this amazing little instrument.

Mark was getting a Santo reproduction made by Mike and was making trips from Boston to keep up on the progress and to pick up the completed Santo. I was keeping in touch because Mark had sent me private YouTube ukulele lessons. He said he’d be coming out to pick up his uke and if I came by he would give me a lesson. Mark is another man that likes to video document his work, music and travels. Here’s that video taken Feb. 10, 2007

In Boston, there aren’t many opportunities to play Hawaiian music so I invited Mark over to the Temple Bar – Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band class on University Avenue in Berkeley, CA. Mark sat next to me and although at a different venue, he was playing Hawaiian ukulele tunes in his usual energetic jazz-style and whispering to me the Jazz changes he would make. Constantly teaching.

Mark has generously composed several YouTube videos that are designed to teach others how to play jazz ukulele. You can see these in the Jazz Ukes demonstrated section of He’s got 15 videos there. He also has some of the best arrangements on the internet at under the heading

One of Mark’s favorite chords appears to be the pretzelly enigmatic: Fmaj7 = 2413 which I am still working on. (Go ahead get your uke and try it. Start by holding an F chord, then put your ring finger on the A string 3rd fret, and now set your pinky on the C string 4th fret.)

He's also is a part of Ukulele Noir in Boston. I am hoping that we can encourage the Noir’s to come West.

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