Mark Colby – Serpentine Fire

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A cigarette and a screw, these are the respective images that confront us with Serpentine Fire and One Good Turn. These are images photographed by Buddy Endress placed in designs by Paula Scher, originally released on Tappan Zee, a label centred around an ensemble of musicians under the direction of Bob James during the late 70s, early 80s heyday of jazz-fusion. The sound is rooted in the Fender Rhodes playing of Bob James, and is a more polished variation of a style born a few years earlier at CTI Records. However it was both defined and immortalised on Tappan Zee in 1978 on Bob’s theme to the TV series Taxi. It was the same year Mark Colby arrived at the label with Serpentine Fire. Both this debut and One Good Turn were produced by another name with a TV theme connection, Jay Chattaway. Mark is from New York, born in Brooklyn into a musical family. He took to the saxophone via the clarinet and began playing professionally on sessions with artists including Wilson Pickett and The Bee Gees. It was Maynard Ferguson who brought Mark back to New York to feature in his band, and at Columbia Records he met Bob James and that takes us to the start of his time at Tappan Zee.

Track listing:

00:00 – 06:41 01 Serpentine Fire
06:41 – 13:15 02 Daydreamer
13:15 – 19:30 03 On And On
19:30 – 25:25 04 King Tut
25:25 – 31:57 05 Renegade
31:57 – 38:28 06 Rainbow Wings


Bass – Gary King
Drums – Steve Gadd
Electric Piano – Bob James
Guitar – Eric Gale, Steve Khan
Saxophone – Mark Colby

Tappan Zee Records ‎– JC 35298 (US)

Studio: At Mediasound / Sound Mixers / Power Station

Released: July, 1978