Mark Hamza has been playing accordion since he was 8 years old. His father, who played by ear, inspired him to play. As he grew up, he learned European music, then American music. His last teacher gave him a solid foundation in the American songbook. He played in restaurants and weddings on his way through college, and graduated with a BSChE from Newark College of Engineering. At that time, he also started playing Hammond organ, learning to play bass lines with his feet.
A full time musician since 1971, he landed an organ gig in the Poconos in a Pennsylvania resort band in 1972 and moved there. The Poconos are a musician-friendly area with a wonderful support network. He occasionally went on the road with different bands. In the 70’s, it was with “The Happenings” where he learned analog multi-keyboards. In the 90’s it was with the “Clarence Spady Band” where he honed his blues chops on Hammond organ.
His Hammond is a highly modified A-100 that has a separate channel for the bass pedals, among other things. He supervised the customization at Organ Service Co. of New Jersey with design input from Trek II Products. The bass pedals have their own amp and speaker. His accordion is a hand made Sano that also is stereo.
He concentrated on using the accordion in non-traditional ways. He has played with singer-songwriters through the 80’s, 90’s, and the 2000s. He played accordion and organ on Eric Anderson’s “Ghosts Upon The Road” album, and played on a number of Richard Shindell and Richard Meyer albums. He also played in a Zydeco band in the 90’s. He is currently playing with Howard Parker and the Hot Take Out Band. He is still playing with Clarence Spady. He also uses the accordion to “sit-in” with various musicians and bands like Phil Woods, Johnny Coates, Al Cohn, Spencer Reed, and many others.