Mark Hollingsworth


Always a passionate musical thrill seeker, Mark Hollingsworth's lifelong mission has been to search for the best in music from every style around the world. Having worked with a broad array of legendary artists from Santana to Luther Vandross, Alice Cooper to Stevie Wonder, Hollingsworth has proven himself as a top studio session player as well as versatile composer, producer and arranger. His experience includes music for movies, television and cartoons in settings from symphony orchestras to jazz combos.

As a solo artist, Mark's critically acclaimed debut album “On the Mark” dominated the Top 10 at Music Choice for nearly a full year. Determined to capture even more of his band's tremendous energy with "Chasing the Sun," Mark wrote music that incorporated the diverse elements of Jazz, Blues, Cajun, Gospel and Latin styles. The result is a fresh, clear sound that dares to push the boundaries of contemporary music itself.

A native of the Chicago area, Mark was influenced by the diverse music that permeated popular radio while he was growing up. Mark’s parents both played instruments when they were young and though neither ever played professionally, they passed on a love of great music and respect for a wide variety of musical styles.

Mark seemed to love a challenge, so after turning down a scholarship to study engineering, he managed to obtain a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Mark graduated from college magna cum laude, and was handed his diploma by honorary guest Quincy Jones, but fortunately this was not the last they would see of each other.

Mark moved to Los Angeles, slept in a sleeping bag on the floor of his apartment for a year while struggling to pay the bills, then landed a job touring with Tom Jones. While regularly featured as a soloist, Mark had some powerful experiences traveling and performing for large crowds all over the world. In between touring, there were sessions in LA including a session for U2 as well as recordings for TV and movies.

Within a couple of years after working with Tom Jones, Mark received a last minute call to work on a TV special. The show turned out to be “Ray Charles - 50 Years in Music” produced by Quincy Jones. The show featured appearances by Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Michael Bolton and James Ingram. This was an exciting way for Mark to begin life “off the road!” and yet another encounter with Quincy Jones.

Mark continued to hone his skills on the sax, flute and clarinet. He also picked up some unusual instruments including a large collection of ethnic flutes. He gained more experience by recording television commercials for hundreds of companies from Nike to Taco Bell. He worked on cartoons by Warner Brothers and Disney, and played on feature films. He also worked on more albums with famous artists including Luther Vandross.

One morning, Mark found himself doing a rehearsal with an orchestra which would be performing a concert that weekend with special guest Quincy Jones. Mark expected to only play clarinet, and was surprised when a tenor sax part was handed to him. Quincy had written a beautiful piece for orchestra which included an improvised tenor sax solo. Mark found that week’s experience exhilarating and loved the juxtaposition of his own part with an orchestra, which almost never includes a sax or improvisation. This mingling of nonconventional style and combination later became the inspiration for “Chasing the Sun.”

It was several years later that Mark released his first solo release, “On the Mark.” The album was co-written and co-produced by James Wirrick, who Mark met while on the Greg Adams band. This album provided the experience and confidence so that Mark could step out to write and produce a truly innovative album on his own, “Chasing the Sun.” This album was created to be a true testament to his own lifelong love of music.

“Chasing the Sun” is an adventure embracing the spirit of exploration that once permeated Western Man’s thinking, and the spirit from which jazz grew and flourished. This album is a passionate and energetic journey to exotic places. Mark’s second solo album is a testament to his passion to create the greatest impact from a broad range of experience with the many facets of music. His ability to weave these elements in an original way allows his music to take the listener on a journey that is fun, funky, exotic and beautiful. In pursuing his love of music, Mark has indeed explored the world.