Mark Adams


Prominent jazz pedigree of our time, 33 year old MCC Recordings artist, Mark Adams holds the baton as the next emerging contemporary jazz pianist. Mark Adams’ introductory CD set, Asceticism-Portraits of Jazz, is a fusion of  jazz mixed with flavors of R&B, Soul and Reggae. 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mark was introduced to the family piano at the age of 5. His mother, Velma Adams, taught piano for 25 years. Mrs. Adams, currently an assistant principal, was instrumental in the foundation of  Mark’s piano mastery. A track from his CD titled “Song for my Mother” is dedicated to his mother, inspired by a trying time when she was ill. His father, Ken Adams, was also an influence in his musical career. Mark reminisce about his first summer job working for Dad, playing piano in his living room for minimum wage!This inspired studying classical piano at Grennwich House Music School. This was the inspiration for the title track, “Asceticism”, which he candidly translates as “a stern, self-discipline”. Father and son run an after-school program in Starrett City in Brooklyn, New York sponsored by the Brooklyn Philharmonic which teaches their philosophy of asceticism. Ken Adams plays a variety of wind instruments and is featured on the track “Colors” playing flute with live strings arranged by Dave Ernst. Ernst has written two tracks on the CD titled “Free Day” - a melodic, fluid riff and “Club Carib”- an exploration of reggae rhythms. Mark proudly shares “Working in the studio with Dad was a great experience. The song is there, it is a part of me now, part of him, and it’s done and documented. 

Mark’s rhythm mimics his up-beat personality on the track “Jazz that Funk.” This danceable jazz piece is tailor made for R&B airplay. Mark states, “People have to be able to feel the music. If they don’t feel it, it’s not good. I go for that when I perform live.” His musical style is “Not just a 4-bar or 8-bar interlude written into the music, but improvisation over the whole form and let the solos go.” This is in the tradition of improvisational jazz technique learned from the world renowned bassist, Ron Carter,before Mark graduated from the City College of New York with a B.A. in Fine Arts & Performance. 

Thanks to jazz-funk icon Roy Ayers, Mark has parlayed his talents jamming with a collage of celebrated contemporary jazz artists such as the late great Noel Pointer, Tom Browne, Ronnie Laws and Angela Bofill. This led to opening for Tito Puente and Roberta Flack at the JVC Jazz Festival in 1991at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Mark performed a Jazz Explosion with Hugh Masekela on the program with Roy Ayers. He explored his potential on the jazz scene with Roy Ayers using the elements of jazz to channel his individual sound. He has recorded on Roy Ayers’ albums “Live in Berlin”, “Good Vibrations”, “NASTE”, and “Spoken Word.” He also recorded on Dominic Kanza’s “Congo.” 

Mark’s growing reputation spurred an invitation to tour with the Queen of HipHop Soul, Mary J. Blige, during her “What’s da 411” tour. In the same year, Mark followed Savion Glover to Columbus, Ohio to do a residency after “Bring da noise, Bring in da Funk” finished it’s run on Broadway. He accompanied Mr. Glover to play piano for the play “Hoofin’ and Bangin’ “ at the Tiger Palace. It was in his hotel room where he wrote the first track on his CD called “Der Grune Mann”, a German translation meaning the green man. In Germany, a green man represents the traffic signal for walk and symbolically this track gives the signal for beginning a totally fresh musical experience. 

To add to his vitae, Mark has left his footprints touring abroad. First stop, Japan, enjoying the rich musical traditions, working concerts with a local R&B group, The Black Flames in 1990 and returning to perform with Roy Ayers. Then the ultimate experience , to bask in the culture of Africa performing with Roy Ayers on the “Children of Africa” concert in Nigeria along with the Commodores, Kool & the Gang, Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Shabba Ranks on the same bill. Shortly thereafter, he taveled to Cuba for the Havana Jazz Fest sharing the stage with Arturo Sandoval, Irakere and Chucha Valdez. From there, he was off to Sidney, Australia and then a stop in Istanbul, Turkey with the group Brooklyn Funk Essentials in 1998. He stays active by frequenting a jazz hangout, “Ronnie Scott’s”, in London, England for jazz sessions with Roy Ayers annually. 

The host of jazz and R&B musicians, which he has supported for  12 years has seasoned this young jazz veteran to make his MARK! He’s labored hard and saved the track “The Work Song”, for last. A modern arrangement of the jazz standard, a bullet of his achievement.