The death has been announced of the highly respected American music arranger, Mark Freeh.
The son of Salvation Army officers, he quickly made an impression as a fine tuba player and studied with Bill Bell and Erik Leidzen, who he admitted was his musical mentor. He also served his country with distinction as a member of the 79th Army Band.
Also a fine trombonist, he was a member of the New York Staff Band on two tours of Europe, including a number of UK concerts before concentrating on his composing — becoming a highly respected and admired for his works that showed his inherent ability to write in a wide variety of styles and genres.
As a musician he recorded with Clark Terry, Duke Ellington and Urbie Green — being present in the studio when Urbie's classic '21 Trombones' was recorded. They remained life-long friends.
A master in the field of music recording, Mark's studio in New York was the 'go to place' for many stars. Billy Joel's 'Innocent Man' and Chaka Khan's 'I Feel for You' earned Mark Gold and Platinum awards which proudly hung on his wall at home.
His arrangements for brass bands and ensembles saw him work with a plethora of the world's finest players, such as Phil Smith, Joe Alessi, James Morrison, Warren Vache, Canadian Brass and the New York Philharmonic Brass to name but a few.
So well crafted
His friend Dave Nebitt told 4BR: "There is probably not one band in the world that hasn't played his music.
His works were so well crafted and scored and he made lifelong friends as a result with so many conductors and performers such as Bramwell Tovey who he worked with when he was with the GUS (then Rigid Contaners) Band.
He was a great musician and a wonderful character of a man who touched so many and will be greatly missed."
He was a great musician and a wonderful character of a man who touched so many and will be greatly missedDavid Nesbitt
Mark Freeh was playing and arranging up until a few weeks before he died, and was still an active member of the Imperial Brass ensemble in New Jersey, a band he founded in 1991.
A Mark Freeh Memorial Scholarship Fund has been set up by the family in his memory to continue to help young musicians. People are kindly asked to contribute to this in lieu of flowers.
He is survived by his children, Kristen and David.