What’s Hot With Jazz Guitar: Mark Elf

This week we are featuring Mark Elf, another player I discovered on jazz radio here in LA, like featured guitarist Jimmy Bruno

Mark certainly looks the part of the quintessential jazz guitarist, with handle bar mustache, bohemian appearance and oddly enough, somewhat elfish in stature (no pun intended). His sound is not small though. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I have the last 4 of his trio CDs and they are all winners. He has a way of coaxing the notes out of his guitar that is uniquely Mark Elf. He has great melodic ideas, rife with energy — much in the vein of the late Tal Farlow.

From Mark’s online Bio:

Mark Elf has been on the Jazz scene for over 30 years. He was born in Queens, New York in 1949 and started playing the Guitar at the age of 11. He has played and or recorded with the Jazz Giants: Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath & the Heath Bros., Wynton Marsalis & Jon Hendricks just to name a few. His first professional Jazz performance occurred around 1971 as a sideman at the Club Barron in Harlem, New York with Gloria Coleman and Etta Jones. This performance was a double bill with the George Benson Quintet.

During the 1970’s he toured with Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, Groove Holmes & Charles Earland and recorded a number of albums with them. He recorded his first album as a sideman with Jimmy McGriff & Groove Holmes in 1973 on the Groove Merchant Record label called “Giants of the Organ Come Together”. In the late 1970’s Mark worked with Junior Cook and Bill Hardman in New York City and also recorded with them on the Muse Label.

In the 1980’s he toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and other Jazz Luminaries and also recorded his first album as a leader in 1986 called the Mark Elf Trio Volume 1.

In 1988 he recorded his second album as a leader “The Eternal Triangle with Hank Jones, Jimmy Heath, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley. This album would be released in 1996 on Mark’s Jen Bay Record Label…

…From 1970 to the present Mark has taught Guitar and theory at independent studios, colleges and universities in the USA and abroad. His clinics are recognized as some of the finest in the world as attested to by Clark Terry who hired Mark to teach at several of his Jazz Camps in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Clark says, “The students love his no nonsense practical approach. “He’s a great clinician.”

Beside owning his own successful record label he also owns his own publishing company. He is sought after for his lectures on “How To Succeed As An INDIE”. Presently Mark is touring with his trio performing at festivals, colleges and also clubs.

Mark Elf’s homepage, which contains lots of features (lessons, books, bio, etc.) can be found at http://www.jenbayjazz.com/

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the ‘What’s Hot with Jazz Guitar’ columns, audio clips of Doc’s playing, and many additional features.

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