Mark has performanced with Diana Ross, Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Billy Joel, Blood Sweat & Tears, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Michael Feinstein, Tom Wopat & John Schneider, Jon Batiste, Doc Severinsen, Ernie Watts, Frank Foster, Allen Vizzutti, Byron Stripling, Pete Christleib, Cy Coleman, Jon Hendricks, Gloria Gaynor, Lorna Luft, Lucille Arnaz, Baby Do Brasil, Paul Carlon Octet, Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, David Berger & the Sultans of Swing, Tommy Igoe & the Birdland Big Band, Smoke Big Band, Chico O'Farrill Big Band, Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (with guests Jon Faddis, Miguel Zenon, Cristina Pato & Ray Santos), Fonseca, Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Xavier Cugat Orchestra, Jason Lindner Big Band, KJ Denhert, Jill Gioia, Funk Filharmonik, Cucu Diamantes, Yerba Buena, Groove Collective, and Magnum Band.
Mark grew up in Racine, Wisconsin and attended nearby Carthage College. In 1992 he moved to Minneapolis to study at the University of Minnesota with Tom Ashworth and Ron McCurdy. An ever-present sound on the Twin Cities music scene in the 1990s, he played with and composed for Motion Poets, Slide Huxtable, Happy Apple, and Jeanay Say Qua. Mark also performed with the Latin Sounds Orchestra, Salsa Del Soul, and the Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble.
Mark was a founding member of the jazz sextet Motion Poets, in which he and the other members each composed an eclectic repertoire of hundreds of pieces during their eight-year tenure (1993-2000). They recorded three albums: “Truth And Consequence”, “Standard Of Living”, and “Lose Your Mind And Come To Your Senses”. Motion Poets also traveled extensively, performing in 37 states and were featured at many jazz festivals, including: San Jose Jazz Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, Discover Jazz Festival, and the BYU Jazz Festival.
In 1999 Mark moved to New York City where he began playing with the city’s best salsa artists, including: La Excelencia, Tito Gomez, Hector Tricoche, Michel El Buenón, Raulin Rosendo, Wayne Gorbea y Salsa Picante, Tito Puente, Jr., Adalberto Santiago, Jose Fajardo, Ray Viera & Trombao, and Charlie Zaa.
In 2002/03 Mark hit the road for ten months with the Broadway musical “Swing!” which featured Mark as a soloist and an integral part of the production. In January of 2007 he completed a three year tour of the Tony award winning hit Broadway musical “Movin’ Out”, which featured the music of Billy Joel and the choreography of Twyla Tharp. A featured vocalist and member of the nine-piece rock band, Mark and his colleagues received rave reviews across the U.S., Canada and Japan.
In 2007 Mark moved back in New York City after years on the road, including stops in 46 states and 17 countries during his career. He then released the debut CD of his long time Minneapolis based jazz quartet Slide Huxtable, entitled "The Return of Slide Huxtable". The album contains nine tracks, four of which are his original compositions.
In 2010 he was the trombone soloist in the Broadway musical "Come Fly Away". Conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp and set to the music of Frank Sinatra, it featured an 18-piece big band on stage and 15 world class dancers. The band played the classic arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones, Don Costa & Sammy Nestico, as well as new arrangements by Don Sebesky. Besides a six month run of the production, Mark was honored to perform at Radio Cit Music Hall for the 64th Annual Tony Awards. He also has been a substitute on these Broadway shows: Book Of Mormon, West Side Story, Chicago, Nice Work If You Can Get It, How To Succeed In Business, A Night With Janis Joplin, In The Heights, It Shoulda Been You and Movin' Out.
Currently -- besides his won septet and various ongoing creative projects as a sideman -- Mark tours with Diana Ross, plays with numerous pop-rock wedding bands, and performs with the Birdland Big Band every Friday afternoon.
I am very excited to announce the inception of my new septet project featuring some good friends who are also amazing musicians. We just recorded our first album at the legendary Systems Two recording studios in Brooklyn. Due to be released soon. It will mostly feature my original compositions. Click here to find out more. I would like to invite you to listen to some of the other recently released CDs on which I appear:
"La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing" is tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon's Latin jazz tribute to the late, great Billy Strayhorn (Duke Ellington's right-hand-man & main collaborator). I am very proud to be a part of this beautiful project & recording.
Biophilia is the lastest CD by the Vinson Valega Group, a jazz sextet featuring Anton Denner alto sax & flute, Chris Bacas on tenor & soprano saxes, Mattheiw Fries on piano, Gary Wang on bass, and Vinson Valega on drums. Ten originals from band members including myself, as well as arrangements of standards by Ellington, Berlin, Monk, and others. Biophilia is released on Vinson's label, Concilience Productions.
"Green" is the first recording of G.R.A.S.S. (the Gowanus Reggae And Ska Society). The Brooklyn-based band covers classic Jamaican music and features Michael Blake on tenor sax, Tony Romano on guitar, Nate Shaw on keys, J. Granelli on bass, and Russ Meisner on drums.
"The Return of Slide Huxtable" is the debut CD from my long time Minneapolis based quartet Slide Huxtable. It features myself, Bill Bergmann on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and J.T. Bates on drums. The album contains nine tracks, four of which are my original compositions. The album is now available for sale on the "Music" page of this website and on CD Baby.com.
"El Medico de Coqui" is a beautiful CD from Nicki Denner featuring the late, great singer Julian Llanos. It features Denner's innovative arrangements of traditional Latin love songs - son, bolero and cha-cha-chá - with a hint Latin jazz. This album also showcases Julian's enormous, lush voice and the artful soneos of a master salsero. He will be greatly missed.
2010 "Green" - G.R.A.S.S. (the Gowanus Reggae And Ska Society) *
2010 "Mulberry Street" - Jeff Fairbanks' Project Hansori
2010 "Biophilia" - Vinson Valega Group #
2008 "Marcando La Distancia" - Luis Blasini and Iroko
2008 "From the Ivory Tower" - Trek
2007 "The Return of Slide Huxtable" - Slide Huxtable # *
2007 "El Medico de Coqui" - Nicki Denner *
2006 "Seven Steps To Havana" - Seven Steps To Havana
2006 "Cuban Voyage" - Douglas Little
2006 "Roadworks" - Darren Holden
2001 "Tinctures Of Love" - Jeanay Say Qua ^ *
2000 "Enamorado De Ti" - Latin Sounds Orchestra (arranger only) *
2000 "Lose Your Mind & Come To Your Senses" - Motion Poets #
• Best Jazz Recording – Minnesota Music Academy
1999 "Don't Just Stand There" - Nicki Denner *
1999 "Unseasonably Cool" - Laura Schlieske
1999 "Marriage At The Panopticon" - Mark Sutton
1997 "Standard of Living" - Motion Poets #
• Nominated Best Jazz Recording – Minnesota Music Academy
1995 "Truth & Consequence" - Motion Poets #
• Nominated Best Jazz Recording – Minnesota Music Academy
# = Original Compositions
* = Original Arrangements
^ = Co-wrote Songs and Lyrics