Having quickly gained a considerable reputation as a talented producer, arranger, and musician for some of the biggest stars in music, Mark Portmann steps comfortably into the spotlight as a solo artist with his Zebra Records debut, NO TRUER WORDS. The album gives the Grammy-nominated arranger and accomplished keyboardist and opportunity to deliver his own rich, lyrical, pop flavored jazz melodies to a growing audience of fans. In many ways, the album brings Portmann back to where he started: at the piano.
Portmann began his musical journey on the piano at age five. Discovered by a professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, he took classical piano repertoire and, by the time he was eight, he was performing before large audiences and winning awards. Once he discovered the sounds of jazz and pop music, Portmann started performing regularly at rock, jazz and pop gigs, with the result being a scholarship to the prestigious Eastman School of Music in New York , where he studied orchestration and writing.
At age 17, Portmann opted for the more contemporary music setting at the University of Miami. He studied with Vince Maggio (Bruce Hornsby's piano teacher) and was part of a class that included such talents as Jon Secada, The Miami Sound Machine, Expose, and country singer Lari White. While in school, Portmann became a highly-sought player and arranger and had the opportunity to play and record with many artists who came to perform and tour in Miami. At one point, he even went on tour with Latin artist, Jose Luis Rodriguez, and played before crowds of 60,000.
Armed with a degree and a resume that included performing and recording experience, Portmann moved to Los Angles in 1988. After a month, he joined the well-known pop/jazz group, the Rippingtons, as their keyboardist. Portmann stayed with the group for four years, recording with them on three of their top-selling albums (including #1 and #2 NAC releases), performing around the world before audiences of up to 100,000, and helping the group earn live group and album group of the year awards in the Jazziz Magazine reader's poll.
Wanting to focus more on writing, recording and arranging, Portmann left the group. Rather than wait for a record deal, he started his own label, Hands On Inc., and recorded ROADMUSIC, an innovative recording designed musically and sonically for cruising the freeways. Released in 1994, the CD was an unexpected NAC radio hit, reaching #6 on R&R and Gavin, and #49 in the "Top 94 of 1994" charts.
During this same time, Portmann also pursued Grammy-winning producer David Foster, hoping to get a chance to work with his idol. After a year of persistent call and faxes, Foster offered Portmann a shot at the arrangements for Barbra Streisand's comeback release, BACK TO BROADWAY> The album, featuring Portmann's arrangements and performing talents, was a smash hit, reaching #1 on the AC charts and earning both Platinum status and a Grammy-nomination.
As a result of that success, Portmann has been in great demand for his writing and studio work by many of the industry's top talents, including Diana Ross, Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Phil Ramone, Peabo Bryson, Brownstone, Boys II Men, and many others in a wide range of musical genres. As a writer he wrote and placed 17 songs on disc in 1995 alone, and he has contributed his musical expertise to many television shows and feature films as well.
Fresh from scoring the music for the 1996 Grammy Awards telecast, arranging & recording the entire new Johnny Mathis "All About Love" album produced by legendary Phil Ramone, arranging for Barbra Streisand's new movie "The Mirror Has Two Faces, composing the 2nd single from Latin idol Luis Miguel's latest release, and producing a new album for Deborah Gibson, Mark has had a great start to 1996.
In reviewing his young but mercurial career, Portmann cites David Foster and Herbie Hancock and other contemporary jazz keyboardists as his influences, but he is comfortable with many musical styles and doesn't consider himself a jazz artist exclusively. Portmann's songs reflect his life and surroundings and, infused with the emotion of classical music, jazz harmonies and pop-flavored melodies, they often defy easy categorizations. Now, with the release of NO TRUER WORDS, Portmann showcases the full range of his considerable artistry and skill, and expresses his own musical vision with dazzling virtuosity.
Mark Portmann Experience List
Abe Laboriel - After 7 - Albert Hammond - Annie Lennox - Barbra Streisand - Bernard Purdie - Bill Champlin - Bob Hope - Bob Mintzer - Boyz to Men - Braullio - Brian Bromberg - Burt Bacharach - Carl Anderson - Carole Bayer Sager - Chaka Khan - Chante Moore - Dale Kristien (Phantom) - Dave Koz - Dave Liebman - David Benoit - Miki - Howard - David Foster - Debbie Gibson - Diana Ross - Dolly Parton - Doug Cameron - Duffy Jackson - El Debarge - Everette Harp - Expose - George Duke - Gerald Albright - Gladys Knight - Glen Medieros - Humberto Gatica - J'Son - James Ingram - Jeremy Lubbock - John Raitt - Johnny Mandel - Johnny Mathis - Jon Hendricks - Jon Secada - Jordan Hill - Jose Luis Rodruiguez - Jose Velez - Julio Iglesias - Lisa Fischer - Lissette - Little Anthony and Imperials - Luis Enrique - Luis Miguel - Martha Reeves - Michael Bolton - Miguel Guarido - Nestor Torres - Nick Martinelli - Paquito D'Riviera - Paul Anka - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Peabo Bryson - Phil Perry - Phil Ramone - Quincy Jones '92 Montreux Band - Ricardo Silviera - Richard Carpenter - Richard Perry - Russ Freeman - Scott Henderson - Syretta Wright - The Rippingtons - Tom Scott - Toni Braxton - Vikki Carr