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Mark Sherman

After nearly 30 years of recording, composing, and performing with countless orchestras, jazz artists, and vocal artists, vibraphonist /composer Mark Sherman a Yamaha performing artist and a Vic Firth artist, has a beautiful quintet featuring Joe Magnarelli on trumpet, Allen Farnham on piano, Dean Johnson on bass, and Tim Horner on drums. Winner of Rising Vibes in 2007 and 2008 by Down Beat magazine, Sherman’s recording in 2005 “One Step Closer” featuring Joe Lovano was in the top ten on jazz radio for 12 weeks in the United States. The recording in 2007 “Family First” was the most spun CD in the United States in it’s opening week on the charts, and his most recent recording done live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland at the close of a 2 week European tour, is entitled Mark Sherman Quartet “Live at The Bird’s Eye” and continues to get rave reviews and big radio response. Tied in with most of Sherman's live performances (clubs, and festivals) is a 2 hour master-class on language skills for improvisation, usually done at the local music school or university music department, and sponsored by Yamaha and Vic Firth Co." These master-classes have been extremely successful at the high school and college level. "I've received countless emails from students telling me how my system for learning the harmonic language needed for playing jazz was the simplest and most user friendly system they've come across, and that it answered many of the confusing questions, and got them improvising on chord changes very quickly." Mark Sherman's background, Juilliard education, and working, performance and recording experience have all contributed to a unique vision, which incorporates elements of jazz, blues, and classical music. Accomplished as a soloist (vibraphone/piano/drums), ensemble player, composer, and educator, Sherman is in love with music and re-harmonization of chords to explore and give expression to his musical vision. The Bronx-born and raised son of a star soprano who performed with the Cleveland and Boston Symphony Orchestras had 5 years of classical piano lessons before he fell in love with jazz through Lester Young, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane LP's. He had been playing drums for a while and practicing with records, emulating Elvin Jones, when he heard that Elvin was teaching at Frank Ippolito's Professional Percussion Center. Mark sought him out as a teacher. What he learned most from Elvin was a feeling of "loose but intense swing" and how to "channel spiritual energy into music." Sherman graduated from the High school of Music and Art and then went on to Juilliard, where he had 5 solid years of percussion training with tympani master Saul Goodman, and percussion master Elden (Buster) Bailey. He played in symphonic situations led by Zubin Mehta, Sir George Solti, and Leonard Bernstein, and many other fine conductors. At Juilliard he met another soul at home in both classical and jazz worlds Wynton Marsalis. They jammed together regularly and years later when Columbia Records' George Butler inquired about Mark, Wynton's endorsement helped pave the way for Sherman's record date A New Balance (1986). The first few years after Juilliard he made a living in freelance studio scene in New York City. But more challenging work soon came his way, He found himself in playing situations with, Kenny Kirkland, Rodney Jones, Joe Beck, Jackie & Roy, the NY Philharmonic, the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, the American Symphony, the NY New Music Ensemble and many other groups. David Chesky wrote a concerto for vibes and orchestra especially for Sherman, which has been performed at Lincoln Center. Mark performed as featured soloist in Darius Milhaud's Concerto For Marimba and Orchestra at Merkin Hall. Sherman went on the road with singers Jackie and Roy(4 years), which led to his recording and working with Peggy Lee (6 years). From her he had lessons in how to "turn a musical phrase" and "subtle time." Working with the special musicians Lee surrounded herself with (Mike Renzi, Jay Leonhart, Grady Tate, and Jon Chiodini) led to gigs with Mel Torme, and recordings with other singers including Maureen McGovern, Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Gloria Lynn, Laverne Butler and many others. He played on records by guitarists Joe Beck and Rodney Jones, and also co- produced Jones' CD "The Unspoken Heart" for Minor Music in Germany. Sherman began touring with R&B pioneer Ruth Brown just at the time when she was being re-appreciated as a jazz singer. But her singing of standards always calls for a heavy dose of blues feeling and blues changes. Mark was exposed to a lot of different blues forms and tempos. In accompanying her he gained a renewed awareness of the blues as the roots of all American popular music. He played vibes and piano on Brown's "Songs Of My Life" (Fantasy records) After recording for small labels, A New Balance (CBS) showcased his skills as a composer, vibraphonist, and pianist. In the last few years Mark has been performing with his group and doing master classes worldwide. Some of his music has been used regularly on TV shows. Mark has toured with guitarist Larry Coryell. He produced two of Coryell's CD’s, I'll Be Over You (CTI records), and Sketches Of Coryell (Shanachie records) and played on “New High”(High Note records). Mark played vibes on Gloria Lynne's "This One's On Me" (High Note records) as well as Lena Horne’s release on (Blue Note records). In addition Mark has eight CD's of his own music “Fulcrum Point”, “A New Balance “(CBS), "Spiral Staircase", "High Rolling", “The Motive Series“, “One Step Closer”, “Family First”, and his latest Quartet recording “Live at The Bird’s Eye” which are available globally, and on the internet at www.markshermanmusic.com or www.mileshighrecords.com.

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Mark Sherman “One Step Closer”

Let’s praise journeymen: Unsung -veterans are��"to steal an Aretha Franklin lyric-doing it for themselves. Vibist Mark Sherman is a case in point. This band sounds like the kind of unit you’d love to spend an evening with in a club. —James Hale, Downbeat Magazine December 2005

Mark Sherman plays vibes with a brash, sprinting edge and a declamatory, ringing sound. He's also a gifted composer who can place swirling, complex harmonies into a swinging format under catchy, even memorable melodies. He deserves a lot more exposure, and now, with One Step Closer, he's got a terrific record that will widen his audience considerably, if there's any justice. There isn't a weak track on this album. Sherman is consistently inventive. His use of boppish grace notes adds unpredictability to his lines. Mark Sherman has delivered a winner. —Marc Myers, All About Jazz

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


On the faculty of New Jersey City University Jazz Dept, Workshops/ Concerts at The Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School Of Music, Peabody Conservatory,USSBA and Youth Education Association,EJMA Jazz School(Laussane Switzerland), University Of Souther Mississippi Jazz Dept., Monterey Pennisula College, Occidental College, The Jazz School(Berkeley CA)

Clinic/Workshop Information

Master-class/Concert summary: I do a master class primarily on language skills for improvisation (applicable on all instruments)

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Concert Schedule

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

My Other Voice

Miles High Records


L. A. Sessions

Miles High Records


Dedicated to Bill...

Splasc(H) Records


Family First

City Hall Records


Live at the Bird's Eye

Miles High Records



From: My Other Voice
By Mark Sherman



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