Mark Merella is a musician whose versatility on both drum set and hand percussion has made him an in demand player for live, studio, and educational settings. He began his professional career while still in high school playing summers at Wildworld theme park. He attended Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and graduated in 1984.
Mark has worked with a wide variety of artists in the Jazz and Latin fields including Randy Brecker, Ray Vega, Rene McLean, Steve Berrios, Eva Cassidy, Paul Carr and percussion legend Candido Camero. Mark has also worked with the groups Rumba Club, Mambo Combo, Ala Carte Brass & Percussion and Latin Grammy winners Afro-Bop Alliance. As part of Havana Select he played for Celia Cruz’s induction into the Smithsonian and 1997’s Black Music Conference in Chicago. Mark has also performed with master drummer Julito Collazo as part of a symposium on Afro-Cuban music in Washington, D.C. On the R&B circuit Mark has worked with The Flamingos, Bo Diddley, Phil Flowers, Jr. Cline and The Recliners and Mary Wilson of The Supremes.
As a freelance musician Mark has played at many embassies, the White House, the Kennedy Center and also appears in the critically acclaimed film “Syriana”. Mark was commissioned by the American Composers Forum to compose a piece for Jane Franklin Dance, which premiered March 1st, 2003. In February 2007 Mark toured with the Duende Quartet as part of Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Rhythm Road project and played concerts in Turkey, Cyprus, and Eastern Europe. Currently Mark works with the groups Mosaic, Duende Quartet, and Imani and recently finished another Rhythm Road tour that involved concerts and workshops in India, Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Philippines.