Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Prince, Mark (G.)

Prince, Mark (G.), drums; b. Washington, DC, 10 February 1973. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Mark has developed into one of the premier drummers on the DC 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. Though an accomplished classical percussionist, Mark feels that he expresses himself most clearly through the drumset, and readily accepts the honor and responsibility of mastering the instrument (in it's American form) that is the driving force and spiritual center of all music in the African Diaspora.
Mark is steadily making a name for himself within the larger community of national and international artists, having performed with many notable musicians, as well as those deserving wider recognition, at home and abroad. His ability to function in varied stylistic realms is evident in the eclectic list of those with which he has collaborated. Mark takes pride in being versatile, as he has shown, and will continue to show with ever-increasing intensity.

Upon graduating from Howard University in 1995, 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. This idiom, 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.

In the fall of 2001, Mark was recruited by master flautist and composer, James Newton to take the drum chair in an original ballet entitled, 'Crossroads', which has been performed nationwide by the Jose Limon Dance Company. After completing a month-long stint, he received a call from the Broadway and R&B Legend, Jennifer Holliday. Immediately securing the gig by way of his tremendous groove and musicality, Mark received the additional honor of being asked by Ms. Holliday to be the drummer for her twentieth anniversary run of 'Dreamgirls', the world renowned musical that catapulted her career.

In the meantime, Mr. Prince has been performing with a steady stream of Brazilian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican musicians, garnering a strong reputation in the Latin Jazz scene in his hometown of Washington, DC. His current association with the Philadelphia-based gospel-jazz singer Ruth Naomi Floyd has provided an opportunity to bridge the gap between New York and DC. Mark's combination of hard-driving swing and sensitive musicality serve as full testament of the fact that he is fully deserving of the label of "All Around Drummer". Mark has also begun to gain a reputation as an excellent clinician and teacher. He has lead and co-lead clinics (along with keyboardist Andy Milne) and masterclasses 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 and Maryland Public School Systems, further punctuating his versatility, as well as his commitment to sharing the gift of music.

He has performed or recorded with Ronnie Laws, Steve Coleman, Andy Milne, Charles Fambrough, Alex Bugnon, Terence Blanchard, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Ralph  Peterson, Gary Grainger, Scott Ambush, Clarence Seay, Debbie Kirkland, ReggieWashington, Sunny Sumter, David Gilmore, Steve Wilson, David Yarborough, Federico Pena, Opus Akoben, Carlos Ward, David Fiuczynski, Tyrone Brown, Geri Allen, Wallace Roney, Talib Kibwe, Matthew Garrison, Ron Holloway, James Williams, James Weidman, Essiet Okun Essiet, Steve Beskrone, Ravi Coltrane, Vinia Mojica,
Gary Thomas, Ruth Naomi Floyd, Bruce Cockburn, Julian Joseph, David Dyson, Bryan Carrot, The Jazzyfatnastees, Greg Phillanganes, Billy Childs, Gregoire Maret, Donald Harrison, Michael Cain, Jay Hoggard, Marty Ehrlich, Jennifer Holliday, Nestor Torres, John Blake, Fertile Ground, Peabo Bryson, Don Braden, Ruben Studdard, Bobby Lyle and James Newton.

Selected recordings:
Ill Logic: How Do you Feel About Life? (1995); Opus Akoben: Art of War (1996); Andy Milne: Forward to Get Back (1997); Debbie Kirkland: In Session (1997);
Davey Yarborough: Love Tones (1998); Carlos Ward's Radius: Set for 2 Dons (1997); Ed Wiley, Jr.: Total Praise (1998); Ruth Naomi Floyd: Walk and Not be Faint (1999);
Alchemy Theater Co.: Magic Music Myth (1999); Andy Milne: New Age of Aquarius (2000); Jon Ozment: Angles (2001); Ruth Naomi Floyd: Fan Into Flame (2001);
The W.E.S. Group: Self - titled (2002); Dapp Theory: Y'all Just Don't Know (2003)
Television broadcasts:
Star Jamz, TVOne Network 2004
Cully Jazz Festival, European simulcast, w/ Andy Milne March 2001
Live at the Knitting Factory, BET Jazz Network, w/ Carlos Ward April 2001
Good Day Dallas, Fox (Dallas), w/ Andy Milne May 1998

Contact information:
Mark G. Prince
email: mgprince@msn.com

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