Biography

Jazz

Mark Andrew Cook is an active composer and performer.  Although trained as a classical trumpet player under the tutelage of Donald R. Tison (Principal Emeritus, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), he is now primarily regarded as a Jazz pianist.

 

As pianist for the SU Faculty Jazz group, he performs frequently with bassist David Marsh and drummer Ronnie Shaw, both of whom carry international reputations as the rhythm section “backbone” for Cook, Dixson, and Young  (the Three Mo’ Tenors).

He leads/co-leads various configurations of his own groups, Set Theory and the Mark Andrew Cook Jazz Group. The CD, Prime Form, displays the virtuosity of Chris Vadala (saxophones and woodwinds), Steve Zerlin, (acoustic bass)  Spyro Gyra’s bassist Scott Ambush, and drummer/co-leader the late Marty Knepp.  Set Theory/Prime Form is available on iTunes, cdbaby, and amazon.com

His latest release, Mark Andrew Cook Jazz Group: Live at St. John's, is also available from iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby and a host of other outlets

Dr. Cook is the pianist for the Mike Kamuf Little Big Band.  Trumpeter Mike Kamuf is a wonderfully talented arranger and composer.  This group showcases Mike’s great writing and features some wonderful players including saxophonists Paul White, Leigh Pilzer (of Diva), Jeff Boone, Tim Powell, Dr. Jim Badolato (“Dr. Bad”!), trombonist Charley Dougherty, bassist John Leonard, and drummers Todd Harrison, Chris Allen, Ronnie Shaw, and Marty Knepp.

He was featured frequently as the pianist and “sideman” for woodwind virtuoso Chris Vadala, who is of international repute. He performed on Chris’s CD Out of the Shadows. He also has writing and arranging credits.

Dr. Cook is the pianist and keyboardist (and occasionally soundman!) for Dave Detwiler's White House Band.

​Dr. Cook considers it his privilege to have performed with other equally wonderful musicians including the great trumpeter Vaughn Nark, Mike Crotty and Deater O’Niell, the late, great saxophonist Tim Eyermann’s East Coast Offering, Pete Barenbregge (formerly leader of the USAF Airmen of Note), Leigh Pilzer (saxophonist for Diva), Scott Ambush (bassist for Spyro Gyra), Jamey Aebersold, Rufus Ried, Keith Kilgo (of Blackbyrds and BET fame), bassist Tom Williams, drummer Frank Russo, Grady Tate, Bob James (as strange as that may seem!), Charlie Daniels (as even stranger as THAT may seem), the legendary Bill Potts...

 

...and exactly four choruses of the Blues with the great Al Cohn!

[Special mention must be given to Bill.  Bill was a mentor and a friend.  He gave me many opportunities, most of which were undeserving at the time. He recognized things in me that I was unaware of myself and never hesitated to give of his time and his friendship.]

As Director of the Shepherd University Jazz Ensemble, Dr. Cook led the Band on a tour of the UK in 2005.  The photograph below is that iteration of the band. Most have gone one to be professional Musicians with advanced degrees (at least three doctorates and ten Master's at this writing), one serving member of the Clergy, outstanding Composers, serving members of the Armed Forces and National Guard Bands, The Librarian for the Cosmos Club, superb Instrumental Music Teachers and, First-Call Nashville Writers and Composers, Community Leaders, Artists and Aesthetes.  I am very proud of these people and very proud of those who followed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Cook has performed at innumerable venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Eisenhower Theater, Millenium Stage, and special events), The National Gallery, The Hirschorn Gallery, The United States Capitol, The Maryland State Capitol, The Virginia State Capitol, Vail (CO) Arts Festival, The Phillips Collection, The Armand Hammer Auditorium of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Strathmore Hall for the Performing Arts, Blues Alley, Bethesda Blues and Jazz, The State Theater, Bohemian Caverns, HR57, The 9:30 Club (opening for Van Zantacs and for Joe Strummer), Charlie Byrd’s, Ethel Ennis’ Supper Club, Cape May Jazz Festival, the Berks Jazz Festival, New York’s Roseland Ballroom, many college and university events, and countless low dives and upholstered toilets.