Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, Mark began his musical studies on the trumpet at the age of 10, mainly through the influence of his father who was an avid player. He continued to play the trumpet through high school in jazz bands, R&B groups, the high school orchestra and started playing bass at age 16. He enrolled in the University of Miami School of Music under the direction of Jerry Coker and studied privately with the late, great Jaco Pastorius whose influence remains with him to this day. "When I heard Jaco play it made me aware of what could be done on the electric bass, particularly with regard to grooving and soloing -- Jaco just made me aware of another way of thinking about the bass and music."
While in Florida Mark formed a band with fellow University of Miami students; Clifford Carter (keyboards), Hiram Bullock (Guitar), Billy Bowker (Drums) and Phyllis Hyman (vocals). They came to New York in 1976 and soon afterward, Mark hooked up with the Pointer Sisters, Deodato and David Sanborn. Mark's notoriety was gaining and he quickly caught the eye of U of Miami School mate, Pat Metheny - joining the group in 1977. It was through this association that Mark would team up with Metheny drummer, Danny Gottlieb and go on to form the group Elements.
To this day, Elements is one of the most highly acclaimed experimental contemporary jazzgroups in the world. The band has recorded over ten full length albums and have toured in over twenty-seven countries. Their uncompromising live sound continues to be on the forefront of the jazz music scene. While Mark continues to work with Elements and hold down the chair in the Gil Evans Orchestra (a position he has held for over thirteen years), his solo projects represent a more personal side of his musical makeup.
His solo debut, Mosaic (Windham Hill Records) delved into adventurous territory on his exotic custom-made eight and ten string basses - - painting beautiful soundscapes over multi-layered musical textures. His follow up LP, Touch of Light ( GRP Records) displayed another facet of Mark's creativity. Touch of Light featuring; Danny Gottlieb (drums)Clifford Carter (keyboards) and Bill Evans (sax) proved to be more upbeat and aggressive further exploring the sound of his arsenal of basses (30 at last count). In 1993 Mark signed with Bluemoon Records and released the highly anticipated album, Beyond Words which again featured; Gottlieb, Carter and Evans. It also introduced to the American music scene famed Brazilian guitarist, Toninho Horta whose bossa nova style and melodic compositions would take the music in a new direction.
Mark not only continues his recording and touring efforts which recently included studio performances with Joan Osborne, Michael Franks, Rory Block, Marianne Faithful, and tours with; Elements, Bill Evans and Marianne Faithful, but his passion and visionary approach to contemporary jazz music has led him to the creation of his independent record label, Wavetone Records. He brings his twenty years of performing, recording and producing experience to this new label, dedicated to providing an outlet for creative music projects. To date Wavetone has released to critical appraise six albums; Elements, Far East Volume I and II, Elements Untold Stories, Egan's, Mosaic Joe Beck, Finger Painting and the most recent release, Jeff Ciampa, Signs of Life.
In addition, Mark has realized his dream with the completion of is own state-of-the-art recording studio, Electric Fields, designed by the highly acclaimed acoustical architect John Storyk. Electric Fields is equipped with a Multi Track Protools digital recording system and an array of vintage sound processing gear. Projects already in production include Mark's solo project, guitarist Jeff Ciampa Trio and Element's long awaited studio album. Mark continues to explore new sound territories through his extraordinary recording, composing and touring activities. His successful efforts as a musician, producer and label manager keep him on the forefront of the contemporary music scene.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Trance Dance
4. Ocean Views
6. Floating Gardens
7. Third World Wave
8. Valley Hymn
9. Duo Peace
10. Wave On