Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Gross, Mark (Mark Ivan Gross Sr.)
Gross, Mark [Mark Ivan Gross Sr.], alto saxophone; b. Baltimore, MD, 20 February 1966. His parents are Lucy Cornelia Gross (b. February 15, 1928, Hamlet, NC) and Norwood Eugene Gross, Sr. (b. March 1, 1928 Baltimore, MD). Mark's father is still the Pastor of his hometown church Mt. Zion C.O.G.I.C. His siblings are Norwood Eugene Gross, Jr., Judith Carol Pearson, Otto LaMonte Gross, Sr., Brenda Mae McMillan, Barbara Jeanette Johnson and Vincent Eric Gross, Sr., a trumpet player and vocalist.
He is the youngest of seven. After developing his interests in classical music at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Mark studied one semester at Howard University and four years at Berklee College of Music. Berklee College of Music awarded him a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance in 1988. He studied with Chris Ford at the Baltimore School for the Arts (1980-1984). He studied with Reggie Jackson at Howard University (1984-1985). He studied with Joe Viola and Bill Pierce at Berklee College of Music (1985-1988). Mark has toured the world with the Duke Ellington Orchestra conducted by the late Mercer Ellington (1993-1996), now being conducted by Mercer's son Paul Mercer Ellington (presently working with), all awhile finding time for short stints with Tom Harrell, Philip Harper and the legendary Nat Adderley, whom he worked with for two years (1995-1997).
Mark Gross is also currently working with the Dave Holland Big band. His professional relationships with these musicians and others have been long lasting and far-reaching. Like his colleagues Donald Harrison, Mark Whitfield, Joe Dukes, and George Benson, Mark has worked with Captain Jack McDuff at the Showman's Lounge in Harlem (NYC). New York jazz lovers have also caught the magic of Mark's collaborative with Mulgrew Miller, Joe Chambers, and the Spirit of Life Ensemble.
Mark has played on Broadway, as well. After three years with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra (1989 - 1992), he performed in the Broadway musical "Five Guys Named Moe" (1992). Based on the music of Louis Jordan, the musical ran for over a year. Mark's saxophone has also enhanced Sandra Reaves' one-woman theater piece "The Late Great Ladies Of Jazz And Blues." With Reaves' Mark has explored the womanly magic of artists from Ma Rainey to Mahalia Jackson. Mark also performed in the Broadway musical "Kat And The Kings" (1999 - 2000). This musical explores the joyous sounds that were born out of oppression during the 1950's in Cape Town, South Africa Apartheid Mark has also played in the Broadway musical that showcased music of the same title, "Swing" (2000 - 2001).
Gross plays the Yanagisawa silver body alto saxophone, Selmer Super Action 80 Series III soprano saxophone, and uses Vandoren reeds & mouthpieces
His wife is Shirell Antoinette Gross (b. July 15, 1966) and his sons are Mark Ivan Gross, Jr. (b. August 21, 1995) and Caleb Antoine Gross (b. March 2, 2004).
Preach Daddy; Riddle of the Sphinx
Yoichi Kobayashi: Good Fellas (1992); Delfeayo Marsalis: Pontius Pilate's Decision (1992); Yoichi Kobayashi: Good Fellas 2 (1992); Antonio Hart: For Cannonball and Woody (1993); Spirit of Life Ensemble: Inspirations (1993); Spirit of Life Ensemble: Feel The Spirit (1994); Derrick Shezbie: Spodie's Back (1994); Philip Harper: The Thirteenth Moon (1994); Spirit of Life Ensemble: LIVE! At the Five Spot (1995); The Jazzhole: ...and the feeling goes round (1995); Shingo Okudaira: Kilifi (1995); SEPIA: Absence of Pain (1996); Delfeayo Marsalis: Musashi (1996); Ted Curson: Travelin' On (1996); Duke Ellington Orchestra: Only God Can Make A Tree (1996); Shingo Okudaira: Maconde (1996); Antonio Hart: Here I Stand (1997); Gene Gardener: Coming Out (1998); Masahiko Osaka: Walking Down Lexington (1998); Lenora Zenzalai Helm: Spirit Child (1998); Tom Harrell: Time's Mirror (1999); Metta Quintet: going to meet the man (2000); Jann Parker: Voicings (2001);Dave Holland: What Goes Around (2001)