Born: November 3, 1945
Born November 3rd, 1945 Mark is an unheralded Philly jazz institution: self taught, prodigiously gifted, obscure . . . yet among musicians his reputation could not be heavier; his list of credits as an accompanist and arranger reads like a modern jazz encyclopedia. (Nate Chinen.) Numerous critics have favorably compared Kramer's style to that of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Herbie Hancock, but one which is singularly his own. He is credited with inventing a rich harmonic vocabulary and a distinctive pianistic style, nearly, if not fully, in tandem with the above masters. From age four, Mark was classically trained on violin by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In his mid-teens, Kramer shifted entirely to bass, saxophone and piano, and then focused entirely on jazz piano. In the early years, Kramer played piano regularly with Randy and Mike Brecker, Charles Fambrough, Stanley Clarke, Eric Gravatt, Sonny Fortune and many other Philadelphia jazz giants. Arguably, an unwritten portion of jazz history took place at Mark's apartment on Ridge avenue in Philly. There one would find Charles Fambrough, Eric Gravatt, Mike and Randy Brecker, Daryl Brown, Stanley Clarke and so many others assembled for hours/days of non-stop jamming and recording. Mark still plays with and/or produces records with Fambrough, Randy, and Gravatt....
AwardsEarly 1980s: "Best" Philadelphia jazz pianist,"Best" Philadelphia piano trio 1985, 1987, Kramer was selected nationally as a top undiscovered jazz pianist by the judges and creators of the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition. To be completed. Engineering awards. etc.
“Mark Kramer is a jazz piano giant, finally being discovered, moving the modern mainstream of jazz forward, combining his early influences and formidable technique with fresh ideas that form his own individual voice.” Scott Yanow, 2008
“The magical interaction between Mark Kramer and Eddie Gomez cannot be overstated for it is rare to find two individualists thinking as one and always seeming to know where each other is heading. . . [these are intimate and classic conversations.] (Scott Yanow, jazz writer, AMG/other)
“. . . wonderous sounds and emotions with sensitivity and clarity.” George Harris, AAJ
“Mark is . . .always melodic and seemingly simple; but in that latter expression lies the secret. It might appear simple, but that is because of . . . skills honed over many years . . in a [music] that has grown steadily more complex and less true. This is first-class . . .the result is real and enduring.” Bruce Crowther Web
“With all the pianists blossoming from the ranks globally, it is soothing and refreshing to hear the mighty art of jazz piano still have the respect it deserves. Mark Kramer has a risk mentality to his playing, never holding back to facilitate the music into another direction yet to be explored. Very satisfying.” Karl Stober - eJazzNews
“ . . . gifted pianist. . . brilliant musician . . . elevates listeners to new emotional heights .. . Simple, soothing, and heartfelt.” C. Lizaire CelebrityCafe.com
“Kramer's luminous...interesting harmonies and intelligent, spare elaborations communicate disciplined emotion . . . will melt hard hearted woman and turn cold fishes into lover boys.” Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes
“brilliant pianist. . . fresh, airy, intense, and absolutely beautiful.” Richard Bourcier - Jazz Review
” . . . Kramer’s prowess at the keyboard remains uncontested.” John Stevenson - eJazzNews
“Kramer's sprightly harmonics and radiantly conveyed lyricism, lushly melodic and buoyant phrasings sans any glitz and sugar-coating . . [creates]. . an overall vibe that goes straight to the heart” Glenn Astaria eJazz News
“Kramer seems like a veritable and bona fide version of Evans as the modal pianist who endeared himself to jazz fans worldwide.” Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
”. . .an amazing piano player . . . takes chances . . . utilizes fresh and interesting harmonies. . . freely manipulates rhythm. Piano becomes a living, breathing thing under his hands . . melodies are colored with taste and style . . .comping always cushions, and appropriate . . solos always an exciting journey . . .swings hard in places. ” Dave Miele, JazzImprov Magazine.
”Mainly plays melodically, clearly, deeply, and naturally. Favors space. Comes across as familiar. Harmonically and rhythmically one of the most advanced among his peers. Decades for this work to be properly understood” (Teddy Wilson, juried panel:1985 his written notes handed to artist.)
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