Mark has been playing violin since age 9 and professionally since age 15. He performs in all styles, has recorded extensively and composed music in all styles, including film and dance scores.
As a sophomore in high school, Mark grew out his beard (sic) and started playing Country/Western and bluegrass in bars on Fort Worth's Northside area. In those days, it was not as now. 'nuff said.
Over the years he has played in numerous local country groups:
In the area of Jazz, Mark says his only real violin influence was the reknowned master Stéphane Grapelli. He prefers swing and funk and generally excludes the period in the 50's and 60's that for most people is synonymous with jazz. Bands he has played with include:
Some lengthy involvements in other groups deserve special mention. . .
In 1975 Mark and Dallas-based guitarist Skip SoRelle formed the jazz-rock
fusion group Aurora. Primarily original music, but drawing on the influences of Chick Corea,
Weather Report, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Aurora took Texas by storm.
The band's drummer was Brothers 3 percussionist Martin McCall. Aurora had the honor
of sharing the stage with several jazz legends:
In the early 80's Mark joined the Dallas "country & eastern music" group The Beledi Ensemble, with which he played for about seven years altogether. Beledi (as it was also known) was formed by brothers Jamal and Buddy Mohamed on percussion and bass, respectively, and included drummer/ percussionist Ken Grimes. This unusual and virtuosic band played experimental and improvisational music heavily flavored with Arabic, Indian, African, and Greek music, and has a fascinating history with many accomplishments far too numerous to mention here. Jamal and Buddy both released excellent CDs in 1999. Jamal's recording is called B E L E D I, and Buddy's (which features Mark on some of the tracks) is called American Bedouin.
Around 1984, Mark joined the established local Irish band Rakish Paddy, when their
fiddler Kim left. Taken under their collective wings, all of Mark's preconceptions about Celtic
music were shattered and he became indoctrinated into the realities of this vibrant folk idiom.
Many years later, he is still learning. Rakish Paddy later reformed as The Lost Tribe,
which gradually lost members until it was down to Mark and multi-instrumentalists John Delaney and
John Burleson. In 1989, Mark had to leave due to personal difficulties occuring in his life. As most
of you know, The Lost Tribe became one of Texas' best-known and well-loved Celtic bands, and
released a wonderful CD, "A Bonnie Wooden Witch". Sadly, due to its members being spread widely
over the entire country, The Lost Tribe is no more.
Around 1985, Mark met the members of the Dallas-based progessive rock band Prism. He later joined a newly-reorganized version of the group that was named Hands. Reminiscent of Gentle Giant, Kansas, and Genesis, Hands had a profound impact on the local music scene. Two CDs of old recordings — Hands, and Palmistry along with a recently-released "reunion" CD, Twenty-five Winters, attest to this.
Mark performed at Scarborough Faire for many years where he met Peggy Turner, Jim Brunke, and Bobby Bush of Sungarden (later renamed Threadneedle St). He started playing with them as a substitute fiddler as their regular — Howard Harkness — became increasingly busy due to his day job. Mark continued to play with Threadneedle St until the launching of Brothers 3. Jim and Peggy are founding members of the SCMA and along with Bobby are definitely three of the best-known and well-established folk musicians in Texas. Along with classically-trained violinist/fiddler Melina Wilkins, Threadneedle St continues perform all around the country and have recently released their first CD, Havin' a Tune.
In addition to his lengthy and sometimes bewildering performance career, Mark has some accomplishments as a composer: