Primary Instrument: Guitar
Guitarist and composer Mark Mollica began playing in his early teens, and within a year was writing for and performing with bands in his native southwest Connecticut. While enrolled at Skidmore College to pursue a non-fiction writing degree, his musical interests focused on jazz and solo fingerstyle guitar. There, he recorded a collection of solo guitar pieces, followed by the ensemble album The Gravity of Rivers featuring Brian Patneaude, Peter Swanson, and Nigel Sfantus. After graduating and publishing his first article, his attention instead turned to music full time. He performed throughout the Northeast with jazz bands, as an acoustic guitar soloist, and as arranger and guitarist for singer-songwriters. These three interests brought regular appearances in clubs and concert halls throughout the Northeast in the acoustic music, jazz, and singer-songwriter scenes. Also, the three strands began to intertwine and inform his playing across genres. As composer, his music was featured in performance at Birdland, and as station advertising for public radio. Other radio appearances include Phil Bowler’s Jazz Adventures and Northeast Public Radio’s Off the Record. In 2003, a scholarship took him to the Thornton School of Music at USC in Los Angeles. The two years at Thornton, essentially his first extended period of formal musical training, marked a period of great growth under the tutelage of guitarist Joe Diorio and composer and arranger Vince Mendoza. During this time, he was featured in LA jazz venues including the Jazz Bakery, Catalina Bar and Grill, and Spazio, as well as in outreach concerts with the Henry Mancini Institute. Mark received his Masters degree in performance summa cum laude with the department award for outstanding jazz guitar graduate of 2005, a Music Honors Society Award, and a stipend for outstanding combined musical and academic achievement. Soon thereafter, upon his return east, this time settling in Brooklyn, he recorded the EP Next Time featuring Fred Scerbo, Henry Lugo, and Vinnie Sperrazza, samples of which can be heard at www.markmollica.net. He is currently on the guitar faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music in Manhattan. His group can be heard regularly in New York City, and has featured some of jazz’s brightest young players. Usually a quintet format, the group showcases original composition and arrangements incorporating a very wide range of influences.