The Kennedy Center

Mark Prince



Biography

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Mark Prince has developed into one of the premier drummers in today’s music scene. Honing his skills at Howard University under the expert tutelage of the legendary Grady Tate, as well as maintaining a strong classical background as a National Symphony Fellowship recipient, his versatility is a sought after attribute amongst the musical community both nationally and internationally. Upon graduating from Howard University, Mark began a six-year stint with cutting-edge keyboardist Andy Milne. His time with this band served as a rewarding platform of development, being thrust into the complex, but intensely groove-driven arena of M-BASE music, a fusion of funk, jazz, astrology, mysticism, and any other pertinent influence, was a perfect match for Mark’s unique style of drumming, which draws from influences equally as vast. In this context, Mark developed a relentless sense of groove, making the most complex of rhythmic patterns danceable, a skill that he deftly applies in many different styles. During this period, Mark also toured and recorded with Carlos Ward’s Radius, Opus Akoben, Debbie Kirkland, Davey Yarborough, Alex Bugnon, and Charles Fambrough, gaining a strong reputation as an extremely versatile drummer, playing styles ranging from hip-hop and R&B to contemporary and straight-ahead jazz. These attributes, coupled with Mark’s Classical background allowed for opportunities to work in New York’s contemporary ballet and Broadway arena. Receiving back to back calls from the Jose Limon Dance Theater, as well as Broadway and R&B Legend Jennifer Holliday, Mark’s stock was raised once again, as the greater musical community embraced his ability to function in the specialized world of show music. As yet another facet of his eclectic style is established; the calls continue to pour in more frequently from interesting and important artists all over the country. His work with the seminal World-Beat/R&B sensation Fertile Ground has caught fire all over the U.S., Europe and Japan. Three albums with Philadelphia-based Jazz phenom Ruth Naomi Floyd have garnered critical acclaim, as well as tours with smooth jazz pioneer, and piano virtuoso, Bobby Lyle., along with the most recent collaboration w/ the Bobby Lyle/Paul Jackson, Jr. Organ Trio serve to solidify Mark’s potent presence amongst the international drumming community. In 2011, Mark held the distinct honor of adding the legendary Jeff Lorber Fusion to his extensive list of drum chair credits, in a band featuring the great Eric Marienthal on Saxophone. 2012-2013 have been busy with tours and dates with Earl Klugh, Nnenna Freelon, the Three Mo Tenors, and South African Legend, Vusi Mahlasela. In 2014, Mark toured Paraguay under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State as an Ambassador of Jazz with the Dani Cortaza Group, performing concerts and serving as a clinician to hundreds of aspiring musicians, while seamlessly fusing the idioms of American Jazz and Paraguayan Guaránia. In addition to leading his own ensemble, and performing all original material from his critically acclaimed debut release, Fraction of Infinity, Mark also co-leads a world-class organ trio - Firm Roots with Brad Collins and Benjie Porecki. Add his work with the eclectic and adventurous group, Sine Qua Non, led by world renowned bassist, Michael Bowie to the mix, and you would be hard pressed to find musical career that would span a wider spectrum. Mark has also begun to gain a strong reputation as an excellent clinician and teacher, joining the Sidwell Friends School Music Faculty in 2011. He has also led and co-led clinics (along with keyboardist Andy Milne) and master classes in the U.S., Canada, and South America. In addition to his teaching endeavors abroad, Mark frequently gives back to the community that supported his development, by giving lectures and demonstrations to students in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia Public School Systems, further punctuating his versatility, as well as his commitment to sharing the gift of music.

Watch Past Performances

Video 6/10/2016: Mark Prince's Aqua Leo

DC native drummer and former NSO Youth Fellow Mark Prince leads his group—Federico Peña, piano/keyboards, Marshall Keys, alto and soprano saxophone, Michael Bowie, acoustic bass—in an evening of soulful straight ahead jazz. An annual event, DC Jazz Festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists, and provides enhanced exposure for the rich treasure trove of musicians from the Washington, D.C. area.

Presented as part of the 2016 DC Jazz Festival Dis is ‘Da Drum series.

Mark Prince