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Music | NW Life

Behind the Mic: Mark Rini


The Soul Station, Tuesdays 9-11pm

 Every Tuesday evening Mark Rini takes you on a soulful trip through the funkier side of jazz. From the ‘60s to the ‘70s to the music of today – Soul Station is a must listen! We caught up with Mark to learn a little more about the man behind the mic.

How did you first get into radio?

I’ve been involved in jazz radio promotion for over two decades. I speak to people like KMHD’s Program Director, Matt Fleeger, all over the country on a weekly basis. During one of our weekly calls, Matt asked if I’ve ever considered doing a show. The thought had crossed my mind, but due to a taxing schedule I wasn’t ready to commit. He brought it up again when we were attending a PDX Jazz Festival show and I said, “Yeah… let’s do it.” June will mark six years of being on the air.

What would surprise people most about what you do in your personal life?

My wife has a fantastic green thumb, so one of my favorite things to do to unwind is sit on my back deck, music playing, dogs at my feet, while just gazing at all the colors from the tulips, lilies and other flowers she grows. It’s my own form of meditation.

When you aren’t listening to the music you play on KMHD what are you tuned into?

Because of my gig, I spend a lot of time listening to radio from all over the country. I also have a pretty extensive vinyl and CD collection that ranges from The Minutemen and Hüsker Dü to Dolphy and Coltrane, to Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. Unless we’ve been sucked into a good movie, there’s usually some sort of music playing in the house.

Tell us about an interesting hobby you have.

I play a little bass for fun, and like to hike and fish when time allows. While I grew up in Los Angeles, I’ve been in the Portland area for over a decade and I’m still in awe of the Pacific Northwest and how beautiful it is. Exploring new trails and searching out waterfalls is always a good time.

Where do you live and what are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?

I live in Battle Ground, Washington, now and there’s not much of a music scene here yet. We do have a solid Sushi place called Toro Sushi, as well as a joint called Barrel Mountain Brewing that brews some great beers on site. There’s a pho place opening up soon, which I’m stoked about. Still, when I want to hear live music, I’m usually coming in to Portland. I really like Mississippi Studios and, for bigger shows, Revolution Hall.

If you could bring someone back to life from jazz history and hang out with them for an afternoon, who would it be and why?

Probably Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I’ve had a chance to hang out with his widow, Dorthaan, a few times and, between her stories and the stories I’ve heard from longtime producer Joel Dorn, I’m absolutely fascinated by his life and music.

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