What’s in a name?  Well, The Mark Of Jazz is more than just a name it’s an actual, living person.  It’s also an upbeat song and a highly successful 1950’s radio show.  Specifically, the person’s name is Sid Mark and the song, written as a tribute to him, just happens to be called The Mark Of Jazz.  You can hear the Slide Hampton arrangement, performed by the Maynard Ferguson orchestra, below.  Sid’s long running radio show of that same name was heard locally in Philadelphia, where he established himself as a popular disc jockey, before coming into widespread prominence with his nationally syndicated “Sounds of Sinatra” … a program which has run for more than half a century!  He is said to be the only radio host officially endorsed by Frank Sinatra to play his music on the national stage.  He developed a close friendship with both Frank and Maynard that spanned many years.

I had the pleasure of knowing Sid when we worked together at a major New York station, where I was the Announcer/Production Director, and he came in every Wednesday, like clockwork, to pre-record his “Saturday With Sinatra” version of the program.  Never missed a show.  We both shared the same dietary condition at the time and used to duck out for a brisk walk and a bland lunch of tuna fish on rye at a little kosher deli just off Broadway.  No pickles, hold the mustard!

Sid Mark is a broadcast legend that did it his way.  While he was one of the first jazz show hosts anywhere, throughout most of his illustrious career [which landed him in the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame] it was his laser-like focus on a single performer that was as unique as his affection for musicians and music in general.  He spawned many new careers, kept the music in the public eye and always fostered a positive climate in the music business.  When it comes to Sinatra, Sid has always felt that he was “dealing with the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”  If you ask for his secret of success, he will give you a two word answer … “Frank Sinatra.”

Thanks to Sid, the music of Francis Albert Sinatra has become an integral part of our lives.  I believe he is the only disc jockey with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  A button on his studio wall pretty much says it all: “It’s Sinatra’s world.  We just live in it”.

This website is intended as a salute, not only to jazz music, but to the man … The Mark Of Jazz.

The Mark Of Jazz

by Maynard Ferguson | Message From Birdland