ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT
This press kit is primarily designed to answer potential queries of concert promoters, club booking agents, special event planners, and PR firms. All other queries are welcome.
introduction to mark kramer's music
This video . . .
(of "AS IS" - a piece composed by Mark Kramer) . . . one of 11 filmed on 2 DEC 2016) . . . documents the finale of a concert in which the Mark Kramer Trio [MKT] (featuring the acclaimed Eddie Gomez and Billy Drummond) headlined for a sold-out audience of about 500. Tickets were ~$25 per person.
It leads here so as to underscore the overall sound and look of Mark's music, and generally its high appeal. Two important aspects of Mark's work and its reception are not evident from this clip: 1) the entire audience is comprised of all ages as well as a surprising mixture of dedicated jazz aficionados with those new to the form, and 2) his intentionally hidden, long developed, advanced style and execution (- a feature which would incongruously place him as a Senior within a select pool of much younger classically oriented poly-metric/poly-tonal two-fisted jazz pianists, some already identified as "cutting edge.")
The first portion of this particular secular concert featured selections from the trio's celebrated "Jazz Fiddler on the Roof" CD. After intermission, jazz standards (plus interspersed originals) were performed in a no-holds-barred jazz fashion. Audience response was similarly enthusiastic, if not more, for this - the pure jazz portion of the concert.
The video is memorable as this concert had only been performed under duress. Had it not been pre-contracted it would not have been performed at all: i.e., from 2013 until recently Mark had taken a voluntary break from his performance schedule to care medically for his wife (who died several weeks following this concert) after her long struggle with cancer. Mark is just now happily returning full force to his previous career in music.
Despite the "Trio" being Kramer's preferred instrumentation, performances do retain power in piano-bass duo and in solo piano configurations. Mark's trios or duos when composed of longstanding local members, or those collaborators depicted here are particularly reliable and artistic.
improvised performance based on a standard
There are contractors who may be more interested in jazz interpretations of standard tunes.
Thus, this spontaneous performance is Included here to highlight one of Mark's approaches to interpreting a very old standard. This had been the wedding song Mark and his wife Meryl Lee selected 47 years prior to this performance.
Please expand the video to full screen for best viewing experience.
“Let's get real here. After all, he's just a piano player. ”
— Marky (Kramer)
tHE SKINNY BIO
As an enduring Philadelphia jazz piano icon, leader of the Mark Kramer Trio and co-leader of Mark Kramer-Eddie Gomez Groups and Productions, Mark is reviewed as a stunning, technically gifted, and emotionally stirring artist. He is credited with producing and engineering well over 35 trio CDs, several for major labels, and for recording and touring with acclaimed collaborators such as Eddie Gomez, Charles Fambrough, and Jimmy Bruno. For the majority of his career, Mark had been rightly typecast as one of a handful of jazz pianists worldwide who authentically built upon pianist Bill Evans' prized contributions to jazz piano and small ensembles. Yet, recently Mark has decided to reveal his own brand of melodic invention, heart, and its combination (on steroids) with free jazz polyrhythms, collective group spirit, and his unique harmonic system. For the past several years, Kramer voluntarily lightened his performance and production schedule to care for his gravely ill wife (deceased 2/18/2017). Mark is just now returning to work - releasing and promoting his recordings including "Art of Music" with Eddie Gomez, authoring future productions, and planning to return to a full performance schedule in 2018.
MEDIUM LENGTH BIO
Raised just a block from John Coltrane's home, Mark Kramer continues to enjoy a productive and colorful career as an improvising pianist-arranger-composer, producer/engineer, and occasional educator.
The style is POST-POST MODERN on steroids: Impossibly melodic + passionate + harmonically complex + technically-adroit - - - paying homage to Evans, Hancock, Glass, and Riley. Sweats a lot. Through marginalizing his own works, he did win contracts with Telarc/Concord and other major labels, i.e., by reimagining 8 Broadway shows, an entire Mozart Symphony, a Harry Potter soundtrack, the Rolling Stones, esoteric works by Eric Satie - all in the elegant Jazz derivative of mainly a Bill Evans. Only after decades can we now hear part of his primarily unsung core jazz engine at work in originals such as Sunday Afternoon, Kharis in Orange, As Is, Muse@3-4-5, a Beginning, Mount Analog, Retro-Orter and lots of others.
Kramer’s waves of inventiveness are carried upon an ‘anything goes’ free jazz approach, but one that shuns focus on any of its included free structures, dissonances, classical or unconventional pianistic techniques, or unusual time signatures. Rather his envelope is impossibly mostly melodic – only sparsely strays “outside” – and floats freely upon a complex system of harmony crafted over many decades.
Bragging rights: Twice nationally recognized as a top undiscovered jazz pianist, described as innovative, elegant, and emotionally riveting by the Great Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition judges (including Teddy Wilson) Kramer went on to record over 40 CDs (including those globally distributed by major record companies (Telarc/Concord, Lightyear, Warner EA) with his own trio, as well as many with close collaborator – acclaimed Bill Evans’ bassist Eddie Gomez.
Mark's credits include concertizing and recording with some of the most celebrated of jazz musicians like George Coleman, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Chambers, Charles Fambrough, Junior Cook, Archie Shepp, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Stanley Clark, Bud Shank, Bobby Watson, Johnny Coles, and scores more.
Though unhappily lacking formal training in music, Mark has been invited to lecture and perform at the New School of Music (NYC), Berklee School of Music in Boston, and other academically respected institutions.
For much more than most would want to know see: EXTENDED BIO AT ALL ABOUT JAZZ
some snippets from reviews - - - - - - - -one page summary
“ . . . melts hard-hearted women and turn cold fishes into lover-boys. . . .reinforces my admiration of Kramer. – Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes
"Exquisite. Beautiful repertoire, gorgeously & handsomely delivered." – Michael Gladstone, All About Jazz
". . . superb; reveals how much jazz can be the story of our lives and the meanings we find during the quiet hours of "recollection in tranquility" – Victor Schermer, All About Jazz
“He elevates listeners to new emotional heights- Genn Astaria, Jazz Reviews
“. .the piano becomes a living breathing thing under Kramer’s hands” - Jazz Improv
“Kramer weaves wondrous sounds and emotions with sensitivity and clarity, delivering jazz as it was meant to be.“ - All About Jazz
Kramer’s prowess at the piano remains uncontested – Jon Stevenson, The Jazz Ombudsman
For full disclosure:
Most musical samples here highlight the pianist's work as accessible, a bit old school, i.e, in the mold of a Bill Evans; not in the mold of younger classically trained virtuoso jazz innovator pianists (sometimes mistaken for Evans.) However, despite being a late bloomer, and being devoid of a formal jazz or classical piano education, Kramer's work from the very outset, nevertheless built on a generally hidden, decades-long, lexicon of a post-Evans' "innovator's mentality and facility", one that is more typical of some relative newcomers - not Bill Evans. Thus, those interested in this explicit aspect of Mark's current work are invited to preview Position #1 from "COITUS UNRESERVATUS"(as linked.)
As an artist, Kramer had deliberately pruned his lexicon selectively over the past 35 years to emphasize its familiarity and accessibility. It had been a logical tack. Yet, as timelessly gorgeous, familiar, accessible, and creative as it may have been for Kramer to produce crossover material within the muse of a Bill Evans (deceased now for close to 4 decades), it is now clear over Mark's countless crossover projects that there had not been commercial sense to it. CDs of Evans - although magnificent - are still being released posthumously and likely with little commercial return on investment of its producers, or recruitment of new jazz audiences.
Kramer now reflects: "Given that jazz business handlers (A&R people, e.g. at Blue Note Records) are increasingly asking their younger - truly sophisticated - jazz artists to "dumb down" their instrumentals, if not sing on them, the conundrum of whether or not an artist such as myself should follow a potentially inaccessible MUSE seems irrelevant from a jazz business perspective [oxymoron?] as well as an artistic one. Actually, the odds of obtaining commercial traction with either "off the grid" jazz innovation or "tried and true derivative jazz offerings" are both vanishingly low. Yet now it is clear to me that the greatest upside for a jazz artist probably lies within the authentic expression and promotion of their keenly felt ARTISTIC aesthetic. Should one's MUSE connect with the present need/reality of an expansive demographic, then a new commercialized branch of jazz might come into being."
Sample TrackS AND ADDITIONAL VIDEOS
Full audio tracks can be downloaded from the green music player at the bottom of this page, Additional tracks and videos may be hyperlinked in various paragraphs of this press kit.
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