Born: July 6, 1969 Primary Instrument: Bass
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Mark showed an early interest in music when he started to play the drums at the age of 7. In his teens, his interests turned to the electric bass after attending a Parliament/Funkadelics concert and watching bassist Bootsy Collins do his thing.
At 14, Mark met several members of the Return To Forever band, including Stanley Clarke. Clarke suggested that Mark continue his electric bass studies, but also recommended that he learn to play the acoustic bass. Within a few weeks of that meeting, Mark purchased his first acoustic bass from famed St. Louis bassist Billy Houston, the uncle of Tom and Dick Smothers! Having taken his advice, Mark wrote to Stanley Clarke to inform him that he had purchased an acoustic bass. To Mark's amazement, Stanley began to correspond and send musical exercises!
Mark soon began performing with many of St. Louis' finest musicians - Saxophonist Freddie Washington, vocalist Mae Wheeler, pianist Peanuts Whalum (the uncle of Kirk Whalum), trumpeter David Hines, vocalist Ralph Butler as well as pianists Mary Tatum (daughter of Art Tatum) and Johnny Johnson (pianist for Chuck Berry).
Though Mark worked most steadily with Freddie Washington (a quartet which also featured a young Peter Martin on piano), it was his association with Johnny Johnson that would teach him the importance of providing a solid and supportive bass line. That teaching was also reinforced by many nights of watching the great ragtime tuba player Red Lehr, pianist Jeannie Kittrell, bassist Billy Houston and banjo player John Becker perform on the riverboat Robert E. Lee, moored on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis.
Mark was a student of the late Henry Loew, Principal Bassist of the St. Louis Symphony and later received dual degrees in Music and Psychology from St. Louis University.
In 1989, Mark made a decisive move to New York City. Shortly thereafter, he met guitarist Chuck Loeb who recommended him for a gig with jazz group Special EFX.
Since that time, Mark has become known to U.S. and audiences abroad for his masterful and diversed work with luminary artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Maxime LeForrestier, Clark Terry, James Blood Ulmer, Mary Black, Lyle Lovett, Heather Sullivan, The Dubliners, Barbara Roy, Mavis Staples, David Bromberg, Tremaine Hawkins, Joan Baez, Lisa Lynn Mathis, Ornette Coleman, Vernon Reid and Lizz Wright.
As leader of his own group, MPQ - The Mark Peterson Quartet, he has received major acclaim with the release of his CD, The Blue Room and his quintet has opened for saxophonist David Sanborn.
Selected by the U.S. Department of State, Mark toured Central Asia as an Artistic Ambassador, along with fellow musicians guitarist David Gilmore and trumpeter Eddie Allen.
Mark continues to be a mainstay on the New York music scene as a bandleader, clinician, musical contractor and consultant with over 100 jingles and recording credits to his name.
Awards:4 year academic scholarship to study at St. Louis University Fulbright Scholar Finalist U.S. Department of State Jazz Ambassador
I first heard Mark playing Electric Bass at the Newport Festival...To hear him play is amazing! Victor Wooten
Bassist/bandleader/composer Mark Peterson believes that every recording is more than just a collection of music. It is an opportunity to express reverence for a subject of personal meaning. Mark brings forth this message with the release of The Blue Room. Whether he is paying respects to his Missouri roots (as in the closing selection “Missouri River Bottom Hoe-Down”), composers, teachers and artists alike (as in the introspective pieces “Miro” and “Miniature for Acoustic Bass #2”) the end result is a tribute to the source of inspiration.
Throughout a career that now spans more than two decades, Mark Peterson has always fostered the philosophy that music should be appreciated without regard to classification or category. Constantly exploring and searching for new musical outlets, Mark amazes musicians and fans alike with his empathic ability to blend his musical talent with a wide array of artists such as pianist Johnny Johnson, Joan Baez, James Blood Ulmer, Ornette Coleman, Lyle Lovett, Lizz Wright and Cassandra Wilson - Nigel Johnson
West Orange, NJ
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Mark was a student of the late Henry Loew, Principal Bassist of the St. Louis Symphony and later received dual degrees in Music and Psychology from St. Louis University. Selected by the U.S. Department of State, Mark toured Central Asia as an Artistic Ambassador, along with fellow musicians guitarist David Gilmore and trumpeter Eddie Allen.
L'histoire de la Contrebasse