The face of my music for the last 20 years has been my Quartet. It was conceived with my husband Tony Jones, and first came into the world under the name Rhythm Crush, which soon evolved into the Jessica Jones Quartet.Tony and I both compose for the band.  Personnel has changed over the years, but we've always been privileged to play with wonderful creative musicians. The core group is a pianoless quartet of two tenor saxes - myself and Tony - and bass and drums.  We often augment the group with extra horns, voices, and other special guests.  And sometimes I play the piano, which would make Mrs. Runkle proud.


The Jessica Jones Quartet is an improvising jazz ensemble which performs original experimental music.  Their music derives from the jazz tradition using structured original compositions as a framework for freer improvisation. Combining two tenor saxophones with bass and drums, the group creates an exciting, robust new soundscape.  Working with drummers and bassists on the forefront of the experimental jazz scene has allowed the group a level of exploration that gives birth to a unique sound.  The compositions of Jessica Jones and husband and fellow tenor saxist Tony Jones are currently given life by the innovative and energetic rhythm section of drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Ken Filiano.  The eclectic musical backgrounds of the band members infuse the music with the energy and creativity of new textures while remaining firmly rooted in the jazz tradition.
The Jessica Jones Quartet has played in the Knitting Factory Festival in NYC, and the Eddie Moore Jazz Festival in Oakland, California, where the group headlined with special guest Don Cherry.  The group has been featured in venues on the east and west coasts of the US and released two CDs (Family on Nine Winds, Nod  featuring Connie Crothers and Joseph Jarman on New Artists) to critical acclaim.  Their most recent release, Word (New Artists),  features vocalist Candace Jones, poets Arisa White and Abe Maneri, and french horn player Mark Taylor as well as young lion saxophonist Dayna Stephens holding down the bass chair for much of the CD.
Poets, storytellers, and other collaborators from Tristano-lineage pianist Connie Crothers to innovative jazz French horn player Mark Taylor have been augmenting the core quartet as the band continues to explore creative alliances and seek new adventures.

Tony Jones

The quartet also features the tenor sax and compositions of Tony Jones, who has collaborated with Peter Apfelbaum in musical groups since they were fourteen years old, including the seminal Berkeley Free Jazz Unit, a precursor to the New York Hieroglyphics Ensemble. In addition, Tony has worked with Joseph Jarman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, Idris Ackamoor, and Don Cherry.

In addition to the Quartet recordings, Tony's discography includes:

  • Multikulti--Don Cherry--A&M Records
  • It Is Written--Peter Apfelbaum--ACT Records
  • Signs of Life--Peter Apfelbaum--Antilles/Polygram
  • Jodoji Brightness--Peter Apfelbaum--Antilles/Polygram
  • Pillars--Peter Apfelbaum--Independent Release
  • Up and Down Club Sessions--Josh Jones--Prawn Song
Festivals as a sideman include:
  • Berkeley Jazz Festival--Hieroglyphics Ensemble
  • Leiverkusen Jazz Festival--Peter Apfelbaum--Hieroglyphics Ensemble
  • Vision Festival, NYC--Joseph Jarman Lifetime Visions Orchestra
  • Nancy (France) Jazz Festival--Joseph Jarman Lifetime Visions Orchestra
Jessica has begun incorporating spoken word artists as well as the lush vocal stylings of daughter Candace Jones into her compositions, finding great inspiration in the textures of new collaborations.

Photo by Jacqui Ford


Photo by Jacqui Ford

Jessica Jones

Leader Jessica Jones plays tenor saxophone and piano and composes most of the band's music and has worked with Joseph Jarman, Cecil Taylor, Steve Coleman, Don Cherry, and Peter Apfelbaum; as well as a variety of Haitian, Caribbean and African bands. These influences helped form her compositional direction which is grounded in the jazz tradition and, as is truly traditional in jazz, reaches for new directions and a unique sound. Aside from working and recording with the Jessica Jones Quartet, Jessica is active as a sideman. In addition to the Quartet recordings, Jessica's discography includes:

  • Multikulti--Don Cherry--A&M Records
  • It Is Written--Peter Apfelbaum--ACT Records
  • Lifetime Visions--Joseph Jarman--Bopbuda Records
  • Marco Enedi-Glenn--Spearman Creative Orchestra Music and Arts
Festivals as a sideman include:
  • Vision Festival, NYC---Joseph Jarman Sextet, Lifetime Visions Orchestra and Joseph Jarman Quintet
  • Nancy (France) Jazz Festival Lifetime Visions and the Orchestra
  • Chicago Jazz Festival--Joseph Jarman, Leroy Jenkins, Myra Melford
Jessica has begun incorporating spoken word artists as well as the lush vocal stylings of daughter Candace Jones into her compositions,finding great inspiration in the textures of new collaborations.

*Click picture for full bio.
Kenny Wollesen   Deszon X. Claiborne   James Windsor-Wells   Lou Grassi   Ken Yamazaki

*Click picture for full bio.
Ken Filiano   Dayna Stephens

*Click picture for full bio.


Candace Jones, Vocals   Arisa White, Poet   Tim Ereneta, Storyteller   Abe Maneri, Poet   Earl LeClaire, Poet  

*Click picture for full bio.
Connie Crothers, Piano   Mark Taylor, French Horn  

Kenny Wollesen, Drums

Percussionist Kenny Wolleson performed on over 30 recordings during the 1990s and, as the decade progressed, gained increasing renown as a musician of astonishing versatility, skill, and ingenuity. He has recorded and toured with all kinds of musicians, from Tom Waits (Wolleson performs on Waits' 1993 collaboration with William S. Burroughs, Black Rider), to Sean Lennon, to Ron Sexsmith (Wolleson performs on his second album, Other Songs). A founding member of the New Klezmer Trio, Wolleson is also all over N.Y.C.'s downtown jazz and avant-garde musicians' recordings, and has been so active as to tour with Bill Frisell and Myra Melford in the same month.
~ Joslyn Layne, All Music Guide

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Deszon X. Claiborne, Drums

Deszon is a master, original trap drummer, with impeccable reading and playing chops as well as inventive, little surprises he brings to the music every time.

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James Windsor-Wells, Drums

James was born in Palo Alto California in 1982. He grew up in Burlingame California (a small town on the outskirts of San Francisco). He got his first drumset on his 13th Birthday. In high school, he was heavily influenced by Rock and Roll music. At 16, was turned onto jazz by his father and grandmother, who were both huge jazz fans. He began studying with Pete Magadini, and Alan Hall. When he turned 18, he moved to Southern California, where he studied with Jeff Hamilton and Kei Akagi as a music major at UCI. While he was deeply influenced by his teachers, James was restless and felt confined by the small music scene of Southern California. After two years at UCI, he transferred to NYU in New York City. Since that time, he has studied with Tony Moreno, Dave Pietro, Adam Nussbaum, Billy Hart, Ari Hoenig, Memo Acevedo, Ron McClure, and Mike Richmond. James considers himself as much a rock musician as a jazz musician. In addition to drumming, James is a songwriter himself. Since graduating from NYU James has been playing extensively with a number of other groups in the New York area.

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Lou Grassi, Drums

Lou Grassi is internationally known for his work in both the traditional and the avant-garde jazz worlds. He has literally played from Ragtime to No-Time: He toured with Ragtime pianist Max Morath and for the past decade has been the leader of the Lou Grassi PoBand ("some of the best freestyle improvisers on the scene at the end of the 20th century . . ." All Music Guide to Jazz).

Since the release of his CD PoGressions in 1996 Lou's star has been on the rise. He has subsequently appeared on more than 40 new recordings. His nine CDs as a leader, including six by the PoBand, have established him as one of the most versatile, original, and creative drummers working in this idiom.
 Lou Grassi has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of outstanding artists, including Marshall Allen, Billy Bang, Borah Bergman, Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, The Copascetics, Jimmy Garrison, Charles Gayle, Burton Greene, Urbie Green, Gunter Hampel, Johnny Hartman, Guenter Heinz, Fred van Hove, Joseph Jarman, Sheila Jordan, William Parker, Perry Robinson, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai and Kenny Wessel, among others.

He has toured extensively, performing throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Central America  and Russia. He has been a featured artist at numerous international festivals, including The Vision Festival, NYC, The Texaco New York Jazz Festival, NYC, The Rochester Jazz Festival, Rochester, NY, The Rive de Gier International Jazz Festival, France, Festas Lisboa, Portugal, CAMP 99, Germany, The Guelph Jazz Festival, Canada, Festival Frei Improvisierter Music, Germany, The Hurta Cordel International Festival of Improvised Music, Madrid, Spain, the Ad hoc Music Offen Ohren Festival, Munich, Germany, Jazz ao Centro Festival, Coimbra, Portugal, The Klappstuhlfest, der Ort, Wuppertal, Germany and the WIM Festival of Improvised Music in Antwerp, Belgium. Lou has also performed at Banlieues Bleues Festival, Paris, France; Lueneburg Jazz Nights, Germany; The Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, NYC, and The International Dixieland Festival of Dresden, Germany, among others.

Lou Grassi has created original music for more than 15 dance pieces by choreographers including Richard Bull, Carolyn Dorfman, Bill T. Jones, Lois Welk, and Arnie Zane. Lou received funding from Meet the Composer for more than half of these collaborations. He has also been the recipient of grants from The National Endowment of the Arts (1974) and The American Music Center (2002) and he has written on the subject of dance accompaniment for Modern Drummer magazine (August 1984). Since 1978, He has been on the staff of New Jersey City University as a dance accompanist, and he has been a teaching artist for New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) since 2001. He continues to teach privately and is available for workshops and clinics.

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Ken Yamazaki, Percussion

Ken Yamazaki is a texture king, bringing his full array of small instruments, patience and musicianship to any environment.

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Ken Filiano, Bass

Short bio:
Noted for his accomplishments in jazz, spontaneous improvisation, classical, and inter-disciplinary performance with dance and spoken word, Ken Filiano fuses the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless, often astonishing, inventiveness. Critics have called Ken a "creative virtuoso," a "master of technique" . . . "a paradigm of that type of artist. . . who can play anything in any context and make it work, simply because he puts the music first and leaves peripheral considerations behind."

Full bio:
Noted for his accomplishments in jazz, spontaneous improvisation, classical, and inter-disciplinary performance with dance and spoken word, Ken Filiano fuses the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless, often astonishing, inventiveness.
Ken's solo bass CD, Subvenire (NineWinds), received unanimous critical praise, and a first place mention in Cadence Magazine's poll of top releases of 2003. For this and numerous other recordings, critics have called Ken a "creative virtuoso," a "master of technique" . . . "a paradigm of that type of artist. . . who can play anything in any context and make it work, simply because he puts the music first and leaves peripheral considerations behind."
Ken leads two groups for which he also composes: a quartet with Michael Attias, Tony Malaby, and Michael T.A. Thomspon, and a quintet with Attias, Jackson Krall, Steve Swell, and Tomas Ulrich. His prolific output also includes performances and/or recordings with Bonnie Barnett, Rob Blakeslee, Bobby Bradford, Roy Campbell, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, Eric von Essen, Ted Dunbar, Giora Feidman, Bob Feldman, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Dennis Gonzalez, Vinny Golia, Lou Grassi, Francois Grillot, Hayes Greenfield, Phil Haynes, Fred Hess, Jason Hwang, Joseph Jarman, Sheila Jordan (with the Aardvark Orchestra), Raul Juarena, Joe Labarbera, Joelle Leandre, Frank London, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Tina Marsh, Warne Marsh, Bob Meyer, Dom Minasi, Hafez Modirzadeh, Butch Morris, Barre Phillips, Roberta Piket, Don Preston, Bob Rodriguez, Roswell Rudd, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Ursel Schlicht, Paul Smoker, Chris Sullivan, Peeter Uuskyla, Fay Victor, Biggi Vinkeloe, Kenny Wessel, Andrea Wolper, Pablo Ziegler.
Ken tours widely, playing across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. He has appeared at numerous festivals including the Charles Ives Festival, Summerfest (chamber and orchestra; Rutgers University), Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), Cascade Festival of Music (principal bass, Bend, OR), Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), Seixal Jazz Festival, Jazz Ao Centro (Coimbra, Portugal), Fundacio Joan Miro (Barcelona), DuMaurier International Jazz Festival (Vancouver, BC), Jazzin' Tondela, Bergamo Jazz Festival, Banlieues Bleues Festival (Paris), Tampere International Jazz Festival (Tampere, Finland), Bumbershoot Festival, Texaco New York Jazz Festival, Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, NY JVC Jazz Festival; and on concert stages worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, and Philharmonie am Gasteig (Munich).
Along with new music concerts and solo excursions with poets and dancers, Ken has been a guest lecturer, performer, and workshop leader at institutions across the country and beyond, including the Actor's Institute of New York, San Francisco State University, UCLA, Centro de Arte Moderna (Lisbon), and at Rutgers University, where he received his Master's Degree.


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Dayna Stephens, Bass

Primarily a saxophonist, Dayna Stephens was born in Brooklyn, New York August 1st, 1978, and was raised in the San Francisco bay area. He began playing the saxophone at age 13. He attended the prestigious Berkeley High School and took part in their jazz ensemble. Dayna was then accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA on a full scholarship. There, he studied with Hal Crook, Billy Pierce, George Garzone and Andy McGee among others. While in Boston, Dayna also had the opportunity to perform with Chick Corea and the Boston Pops for a PBS special.

After graduating from Berklee, Dayna was selected to be in the Thelonious Monk Institute of jazz program located at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. He studied there for 2 years and while there, Dayna studied and played with, among others: Dave Holland, Kenny Barron, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Lewis Nash, Mark Turner, Christian McBride, Carl Allen and Terence Blanchard who was the artistic director of the program. In the spring of 2003 the Monk group made a recording featuring Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. The recording Featured some of the best compositions and arrangements made by group throughout their 2 years spent together.

Since Graduating from the Monk Institute in 2003, Dayna has been performing and teaching actively. He plays regularly in San Francisco & New York City and has performed in recent times with Salvador & Carlos Santana, Kenny Barron, Roy Hargrove, OZOmatli, Patrice Rushen,Tom Harrell, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Parker, Freddie Hubbard, Steve Coleman, Oliver Lake, Eric Gravatt, Ndugu Chancler, Idris Muhammad, Bobby Short, and Josh Roseman. Dayna also plays upright bass and has performed with Stefon Harris, Marcus Belgrave, Sonny Fortune, Roy Hargrove and Natalie Douglas.


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Candace Jones, Vocals

Vocalist Candace Jones is a superstar waiting to explode on the international scene. Performing since she was four, Candace has an array of awards and accomplishments behind her in classical, jazz and R&B music. She counts among her influences John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Stevie Wonder among others. Born in New York City and raised in the jazz-rich culture of California's Bay Area, she won local talent competitions and by the age of 11, had secured a seat with the highly heralded, Young Musicians program in the University of California; where she trained as a classical vocalist. By the time she was 18, Candace had garnered a slew of accolades:

  • NAACP® Act-So Regional Competition: first place, classical voice
  • Stanford Jazz Camp: only vocalist in the top combo, awarded scholarship
  • Berklee College of Music: scholarship to summer camp, then awarded scholarship towards college
  • Lead role in FAB, a 6-week professional musical in San Francisco (fulltime, while still attending high school)
  • San Francisco Grammy® Choir member

Now based in Brooklyn, New York, Candace has been working at the highest levels in a variety of musical genres over the last five years, including starring in touring companies of Dream Girls, Ain't Misbehavin, Hair and Fame; sang as a weekly headliner at the Cotton Club; collaborates, writes, arranges and records for R&B artists.

Press - Click to enlarge

NY Daliy News


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Arisa White, Poet

Arisa White holds a MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a recipient of the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and was recently awarded a writing residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is a Cave Canem fellow, currently working on a second manuscript inspired by Nina Simone's "Four Women." By employing the use of dramatic monologue and oblique presentation of theme, Arisa casts a different generation of women who are confronted with domestic violence, AIDS, motherhood and lesbianism. Her poems appear in Gathering Ground: Cave Canem 10th Anniversary Reader, Meridians, Softblow,,, A Gathering of Tribes, and African Voices.


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Abe Maneri, Poet

Abe is from a family of creative jazz musicians and is trained musically as a classical violinist and jazz pianist. He brings this musicianship and understanding of spontaneous collective improvisation to his poetry.

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Tim Ereneta, Storyteller

Storyteller Tim Ereneta brings to life traditional tales for contemporary audiences. His repertoire includes classic fairy tales as well as grim and gruesome folk tales of the Middle Ages.
Tim also creates stories in the moment, drawing on his roots in theatrical improvisation, for shows like You Go First or Storytellers Unplugged. He is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network's 2006 J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant. His performance was selected as one of the Top Five Acts of the 2005 Rogue Performance Festival, where The Fresno Bee called him "Droll, funny and original."
As a playwright and actor, Tim brings over 17 years of theatre experience to his storytelling, including appearances at the Orlando, Edmonton, and San Francisco Fringe Festivals, Fresno's Rogue Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Stitching Stars Storytelling Festival in Athens, Georgia. For ten years, he was in the mainstage company of BATS Improv, one of San Francisco's most popular improvisation troupes.
Other stage credits include the original cast of Mary Zimmerman's The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci at the Lookingglass theatre and Dino Doesn't Live Here Any More for two seasons at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

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Earl LeClaire, Poet

Poet and philosopher, currently hiding out somewhere in North Carolina.

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Connie Crothers, Piano

Connie Crothers was born in Palo Alto, California on May 2, 1941. When she was nine years old, she began piano lessons. She also began composing. At the University of California in Berkeley she majored in music with an emphasis on composition.

She moved to New York City in 1962 and began studying with Lennie Tristano. In 1972 he began presenting her in performances for invited audiences in his home. In 1973 he presented her in solo concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. He produced two other solo concerts in Carnegie Recital Hall, in 1977 and 1978. The Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation produced a solo concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1979. In 1975, she performed in concert with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, with Roger Mancuso and Joe Solomon, in Carnegie Recital Hall. Connie co-produced along with tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin, the Lennie Tristano memorial concert, held in Town Hall in New York City in 1979. She performed duo at this concert with flute player Nomi Rosen. In 1980, she co-led an engagement with Warne Marsh at the Village Vanguard, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Peter Scattaretico on drums. In 1980, Connie performed solo at the Berlin Jazztage. With composer and percussionist Max Roach she recorded duo. In 1982 they produced this session, "Swish," on New Artists, a record company which they co-founded. In 1983, she co-led an engagement with Max Roach, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a four-way collaboration entitled, "Intuitive Momentum," featuring the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Connie performed solo in 1984 at Cooper Union in New York City. She appeared as a soloist as part of the New Music America festival in Washington D.C. in 1983. In 1986, she performed solo at the DuMaurier International Jazz Festival in Toronto, Canada. In 1987, working with her associates, she reorganized the New Artists label as a cooperative record company.

In 1989 she performed solo in the Jazz Middleheim festival in Belgium. Connie formed a quartet with co-leader Lenny Popkin, tenor saxophone, featuring Carol Tristano on drums and Cameron Brown on bass. This quartet performed at the Blue Note, Sweet Basil and Birdland in New York City. They toured Europe and Canada. In 1990, they were presented at the duMaurier Festival in Toronto. They appeared at de Werf in Bruges, Belgium by in 1989 and 1991. Also in 1991 they performed two concerts in de Singel, Antwerp, Belgium, produced by Rob Leurentop. They appeared at the Spoleto Festival in 1995 and 1996. Their recordings include "New York Night," NA1008, 1990, recorded at the Blue Note, released in Japan on the Americana label, 28C 8008(A); "In Motion," NA1013, 1991, recorded in Belgium by Belgian Radio and Television (BRT), voted one of the top 50 records of the year by Jazz Magazine. In 1996, Marion McPartland featured Connie on her radio series "Piano Jazz," on National Public Radio.In 1997, she released a solo CD, "Music from Everyday Life" .Connie performed solo at The Jazz School in Berkeley, California in 1998.In the January 2000 issue of Cadence, she was chosen for inclusion in the selection of the most important and influential musicians in the last twenty-five years.

Connie formed a quartet with Richard Tabnik, Roger Mancuso and bassist Sean Smith.
With this quartet, Connie appeared at Birdland in April 2000 when the club featured the New Artists In 2001 and 2003 her quartet appeared in Albuquerque, New Mexico at The Outpost Performance Space. Mark Weber, poet, performed poetry he had written for the concert with the band. Selections from the 2003 concert was released on the CD, "Live, Outpost Performance Space," in 2005 on the New Artists label. In December 2000, she performed in a Max Roach concert in Tokyo, Japan, where she performed solo, duo with Mr. Roach and with the Max Roach Quartet. In February 2000 she performed a duet with Max Roach in Bologna, Italy at El Teatro di Celebrazione. In April 2001, at Harvard University, she was awarded Honorary Jazz Master She also performed solo and duo with Mr. Roach at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2002.
Connie released a duet CD with guitarist Bud Tristano in 2001, "Primal Elegance," on the New Artists labelConnie co-lead a quintet with alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc at the Vision Festival in 2003. She appeared throughout 2002-2004 at Faust Harrison Pianos in New York, NY, in duets with Bud Tristano, Richard Tabnik and guitarist Ace Yamashita, quartet with tenor saxophone player Bob Field, quintet with Harry Schulz.
She teaches improvisation in her studio in Brooklyn, NY.

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Mark Taylor, French Horn

Mark Taylor is one of a handful of talented young performers carrying on the improvisational tradition pioneered by the great (french) hornist, Julius Watkins. Taylor's sound has been described as "rapturous" and "golden" (Coda Magazine); "as fluid and limpid as (the) flute, and as gnarly as (the) alto." (JazzTimes). His innovative style has won him recognition by such legendary artists as Max Roach, who said, "Mark Taylor is a virtuoso instrumentalist...there is no one dealing with the french horn or the music the way he is."

Mark has performed and recorded with an array of modern giants including: Max Roach, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, and Basie bandleader Grover Mitchell. As a featured soloist with Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus he toured throughout the United States, Europe and in Asia. As a member of George Schuller's post-modern big band, Orange Then Blue, Mark participated in a State Department tour of Turkey, Cyprus and Syria. As leader of his own groups he has performed at Jazz Festivals in Tampere, Finland and Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia and at a number of clubs in Germany, Austria, Canada and New York City, including Porgy and Bess, Cafe Unterfahrt, Birdland, the Zinc Bar and the Knitting Factory. As a composer, he has written for Max Roach, the Ebony Brass Quintet, pianist Larry Willis and is a member of the So What Brass Quintet. He has also been commissioned to compose for theatre and dance, placed two songs in the Dollface Productions independent feature film "The Girl" and recently completed the score for Camille Billops' documentary, "A String of Pearls".

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