Mark Foley

Music commentator

Mark Foley is Principal Double Bass of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Double Bass and head of Jazz Studies at Wichita State University.

He has been a featured soloist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, performs extensively as a jazz artist is also an avid bluegrass player. Passionate about promoting new and diverse music, Mark is the founder and music director of the Knob Festival of New Music, a series of concerts held in Fisch Haus Studios every Fall.

Ways to Connect

johncoltrane.com

I try not to live in the past, but when an album of music by John Coltrane is discovered and released decades after it was recorded, I’m justified in getting a little maudlin.

[Music: John Coltrane, “Untitled Original 11383,” Both Directions at Once: the Lost Album (2018)]

Every once in a while there’s good live music on TV. The best shows are by smaller nonprofits: my favorite, Austin City Limits is on PBS, the BBC has Later… With Jools Holland, and of course NPR has video streams of Live From Here and Tiny Desk Concerts. But these are small, specialty programs aimed at the cognoscenti.

Beth Golay / KMUW

Binging seems to be the business model for television and publishing now. TV show marketing makes us gladly lose sleep to get to a season finale, and books now seem to only come in trilogies. This appeal to the obsessive completist gets me thinking about binge-listening.

Summer is a great time to get through some of your bucket-list records. The complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler or the 111 recordings of Frank Zappa might be a bit heavy for the season, but we can still get to September being able to say we got to the end of an epic list.

Good and bad things have happened to music with the invention of headphones more than a hundred years ago. 

Musical Space: Caesura

May 22, 2018

(Music: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”,

)

Wes Anderson movies are a definite thing. Take his set design: earnest, quirky, and obsessive. Every shot is a consummation of painstaking detail. The camera is straight-on, elements are arranged at meticulous right angles with uncanny symmetry, color palates are precise and constrained.

The same fastidious care is given to the choice of songs for his soundtracks. Anderson shows us how closely music can be integrated into the concept and design of a movie. Because stock wallpaper music would never work for films that have the strangest wallpaper you’ll ever see.

Musical Space: Fake News

Apr 24, 2018

Now that fake news is being reported by real news, I thought it would be good to look into how much fakery goes on in the music business. Sure, there’s autotune and lip-synching, but in the business of music the chicanery goes even deeper.

Pop success is measured in sales numbers, and fudging those numbers is as old as the Billboard charts. For years record companies have leaned on stores, by bribery or coercion, to report inflated sales numbers to push whatever they want to be the next hit.

Professional musicians can write off business expenses from their taxable income, just as with any other profession; for them the cost of clarinet reeds and guitar strings is carefully tallied annually. The rest of us can also get a tax benefit from music, but only in the form of charitable donations. New tax laws have somewhat disincentivized charitable giving going forward, but you still have a week to donate to a music charity for the 2017 tax year.

Debbie Greene / wichitariverfest.com

You could travel to some amazing music festivals all over the world this season, but the best place to connect with people is in your own backyard. There are all kinds of festivals within a day’s drive, and I’m willing to bet they’ll give you a more meaningful time than if you went to California to join 75,000 other people at Coachella.

With spring just a few days away, Mark Foley says it’s time for Music Festival Season.

Festivals have had a profound effect on music ever since the Newport Jazz Festival started in 1954, or possibly as far back as Stonehenge. 

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