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.
Mark is best known for his work with the Mark Kramer Trio. Originally conceived as an acoustic-electric-fusion group in the late 1970s - featuring Paul Klinefelter on bass, and Mike Dougherty on drums - it would quickly mature into a complex acoustic chamber ensemble. Over the years the trio performed several times weekly at clubs and concert halls, and won numerous awards and commendations (see below).