Mark Colby

Mark was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949. His father, a professional drummer (drummer), played for Benny Goodman during the ’40s. Mark received a clarinet at the age of eight and was taught by Bill Schlagel. He stressed the importance of sound and technique. Mark began his long-lasting love affair with saxophone at the age of eleven. His passion for music was sparked by being immersed in the music of his father’s big bands and intrigued by the modern sounds of bebop and the cool and hard-bop records that his sister played. His family moved to Miami in 1962. He began playing professionally when he was 14. He had the chance to perform with many popular musicians, such as Sonny and Cher and Bill Cosby. For many years, he was the youngest member of the bandstand. He continued to pursue his passion for all types of jazz while being the most popular. He studied high school with James Casale, co-author of Patterns for Jazz With Jerry Coker. After graduating high school, Mark enrolled in the University of Miami’s Jazz Studies program. He was influenced by Jerry Maggio and Vince Maggio, as well as his time with Ira Sullivan at 16. These great musicians gave him inspiration, encouragement, and a valuable education in jazz idiom. Mark was fortunate enough to have the amazing opportunity of working alongside Gerry Mulligan, the legendary baritone jazz player. He recorded while in college with Dr. John, Wilson Pickett and Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees. After completing a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies, Maynard Ferguson called him inviting him to join his band in New York. After three albums, three years of touring with Maynard as a featured soloist, and three years of musical direction, Bob James called him and invited him to join the “James Gang.” Bob signed Mark to Columbia Records and began his solo recording career. He sold “Serpentine Fire”, “One Good Turn” and other albums very well while touring for six years with Bob James’ band. Mark was on Maynard’s tour with Bob, and he found him performing at jazz festivals and concert halls all over the globe. Mark moved to Chicago in 1980. It has a very active music scene. Mark immediately joined a booming recording market. There were many jazz gigs, record dates, and jingles. DePaul University approached him in 1983 to offer him a position as a jazz saxophone teacher. He is still there and joined the Elmhurst College faculty in 1998. He has performed and toured with many luminaries, including Frank Sinatra and Jaco Pastorius, Joe Williams, Joe Allison, Joe Williams, and Charlie Haden, over the years. Currently he is performing as a guest soloist and clinician/adjudicator at middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout the United States and Europe, representing Selmer Paris Saxophones and Vandoren reeds. He performed Duke Ellington’s version of “The Nutcracker Suite” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2001. In 2008, he performed Leonard Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs.” Hallway Records’ 1999 release “Reunion” (with Vince Maggio), followed by “Tenor Reference”, in 2002 to glowing reviews and a grateful audience. The Hallway Records release that he released was a tribute in honor of Stan Getz, called Speaking of Stan. It reached #3 on jazz radio charts in 2006. He was a regular at the Chicago, Paradise Valley Arizona Jazz Festival and Evanston, Naperville, Glen Ellyn Jazz Festivals between 2007-2010. Mark was the artist-in-residence at the Three Rivers Saxaphone Symposium, PA in 2010. He appeared with Diana Krall in “Public Enemies”, a Johnny Depp movie. His CD, “Reflections”, was released on Origin Records in November 2008. Mark was interviewed for his chapter in Cicily Janus’s 2010 book “The New Faces of Jazz”, published by Billboard Press. Currently he is completing a new recording to be released on his own RCI label in 2011. from

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