Somewhere at the end of 1973, while a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I decided to challenge myself to write a song every day for at least a month, with no instrument in hand, so as to help further develop my ears and put to use all I was learning at Berklee. What resulted was a book of songs begun in early 1974, when I was just 22 years old. I went back to Detroit that summer and took the book with me, with the idea of developing those songs into full arrangements.
Well, summer love and gigging to help raise tuition money kept that from happening, and when I headed back to Berklee in the fall, I left behind that manuscript book. My mother found it on her piano, and must have played through it (she was a highly accomplished pianist and harpist, and could sight-read ANYTHING!) and decided to keep it. She put it into a 10×12 manilla envelope and wrote on the outside “David’s Music” and kept it with all her other memorabilia about me (books, magazine articles, LPs, CDs, etc…).
Some 35 years later, when we were moving my mom into assisted living (at age 99), I found the envelope, put it into a box with some of her music collection to ship back to my home in Boston. By that time I was Senior Vice President at Berklee, and very, very busy with many large scale projects, and when the box arrived it went into the basement and was forgotten again for another bunch of years. Then in the summer of 2021, I was cleaning out the basement and found the box of my Mom’s things, and then found the envelope with “David’s Music.”
Inside I found 23 pieces of music from that project I gave myself 47 years earlier. Not only had I forgotten about the book, but had virtually no recollection of the tunes inside. I brought it out to my studio and started playing through them. I vaguely remembered a couple of them because I had made arrangements of them for a guitar ensemble called “Tom’s Thumbs,” led by my Berklee guitar teacher Tom Sczymczak. But otherwise they were new tunes to me, and – I actually liked them.
So began this album project, “The Lost Book of David Mash.” I took ten of the tunes, exactly as they were, no changes to them other than extending them into full arrangements using today’s technology and my current musical sensibilities. I played all the musical parts, other than the saxophones, which are played by my good friend Bruce Nifong. My co-producer Peter Bell helped me throughout with ideas, comments, edits and the mixes as he’s been doing for more than a decade. This album is the result! And the other 13 tunes? Well… Maybe a volume 2 someday? Hmmm….