Mark Walker

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Mark Walker
Drummer - world jazz

Bands: Independent

Drumsticks: Vic Firth

Mark Walker, grammy award-winning drummer/percussionist/composer/educator was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing drum set at age 10, and at age 16 studied with the “Dean of Percussion” Roy C. Knapp until Knapp’s death in 1979. He played his first professional club, concert and recording gigs barely out of high school.

He gained valuable experience performing an extremely wide range of styles in the Chicago area and later became a first-call session drummer and percussionist, playing on film scores, jingles and record dates. He also began working with Lyle Mays, touring the U.S. and Europe. He still works with Lyle on occasion.

While still living in Chicago in the 1990’s, he began a long stint with sax/clarinet virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera, which continues to this day. He has played on many of Paquito’s records, including “Funk Tango” (Grammy award winner in 2008 for best Latin jazz album), “Tropicana Nights”(Latin Grammy winner), and “Portraits of Cuba” (Grammy Winner), among many others.

He made the move to New York in 1995, immediately establishing himself on the session scene and going on the road with the Caribbean Jazz Project featuring D’Rivera, Dave Samuels and Andy Narell. He played on the Latin Grammy award winning live double CD “Here and Now: Live in Concert”. He also recorded and toured with Rosa Passos, Michel Camilo, Dave Liebman, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Diane Schuur, Linda Eder, Cathy Richardson Band and Ivan Lins.

In 1996 he began a long association with Oregon, initially playing on their Intuition release “Northwest Passage” in 1996 and touring with the band from 1997 to the present. In 2008, Walker’s tune “Deep Six” won a Grammy nomination (the band’s 5th)in the category of best instrumental composition. With 15 years in the group, Walker holds the position as the longest-standing percussionist. Mark has also earned the Indie award and the Jazz award (German record manufacturers) for his work with Oregon.

He has also performed onstage with major artists such as Vince Mendoza, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Mike Manieri, Airto Moreira, Don Alias, Flora Purim, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Chu Cho Valdes, Amadito Valdes, Bebo Valdes, Sakesho, Eliane Elias, Jerry Gonzalez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jovino Santos Neto, Chano Dominguez, Diane Reeves, João Bosco and Leny Andrade.

He has appeared on major television shows such as: “Late Night with David Letterman”, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”, “PBS presents…” and “BET On Jazz”. He also appears on screen with Paquito D’Rivera in Fernando Trueba’s Latin jazz documentary “Calle 54”(Miramax).

He has taught at Berklee College of Music since 2001, and was appointed professor in 2008. He has also served on the faculty at Drummers Collective in New York City. Mark has taught jazz camps, festivals, master classes, clinics and workshops in Africa, South America, Asia, North America and Europe.

His new ensemble, the “Rhythm of the Americas”, presents jazz compositions with rhythms deeply rooted in the Afro-Latin styles of North America, the Caribbean, and South America. The Ensemble will perform at a major jazz festival and record an new live CD in Fall 2012.

His instructional book and CD “World Jazz Drumming” (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard) was recently released and is being utilized by students and teachers worldwide. He has also written for the instructional book “Killer Grooves” (Carl Fischer). He authored and also teaches a new Afro-Cuban online drum set course for

He has performed on five Grammy award – winning albums and has earned nine Grammy nominations for his work with various pop and jazz artists, including Oregon, Donato Poveda, Paquito D’Rivera and Caribbean Jazz Project. Besides the Grammy nomination with Oregon, he won best Latin jazz album as a drummer/composer for “Funk Tango” by the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet.

Mark Walker is a Yamaha, Paiste, Remo, Vic Firth and LP Artist. His website is His YouTube channel is mwdrums777.

Drumstick Collection

Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.

0298-0299 Mark Walker - used, autographed Vic Firth 5A drumsticks, used 03/05/14 drum clinic, North Shore Drum Shop, Beverly MA.