"With his hearty sound and bristling ideas, O'Connor can bowl over even a jaded follower of post-bop jazz."
“O’Connor’s tone is warm and fat… unison melody lines are outstanding… the compositions on the album are something else. I hope to hear more soon.”
"A very good saxophonist he is. melodically and rhythmically engaging lines. expressiveness and melodic sensitivity."
Mark O'Connor's 2003 Blujazz release, "Mirage," spent eight weeks on the national jazz charts, with responses such as "Excellent!" from Jim Wilke of the nationally syndicated "Jazz After Hours," and "A great new CD, it does not contain a bad cut. Already one of my favorites for 2003!" from Bill White at WWOZ in New Orleans.
Contrary to what its figurative meaning suggests, the title of saxophonist Mark O'Connor's debut CD hardly represents something illusory or misleading. In fact, the Chicago musician has delivered an undeniably tangible first effort, a dynamic jazz recording that is confident, well paced, and thoroughly listenable.
The name Mirage literally refers to the mixed meter form of the album's title track, an original tune that challenges the listener as it deftly alternates between time signatures. However playful, this subtle rhythmic prank is by no means gratuitous; O'Connor's recording indeed features a broad range of contemporary styles, yet it is always anchored by an uncompromising devotion to swing.
Mirage was produced by Pianist/Composer Mark Maegdlin and features a talented cast of Chicago jazz musicians O'Connor felt would best "channel" his compositions into a vital jazz lineage, one he has tremendous respect for. "In reality, none of us own this music," O'Connor states, "It's a privilege to play this music, and just be a part of it."
An Austin native, O'Connor has been based in Chicago since 1996 as a performer, composer and educator. His resume includes performing with such notables as Rufus Reid, Arturo Sandoval, Henry Butler, Steve Turre and Joe Williams. He is an experienced clinician, and currently teaches at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL.