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 then attended Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and graduated in 1984.
During his career Mark has worked with a wide variety of artists in the jazz and Latin music fields including Randy Brecker, Steve Turre, Ray Vega, Rene McLean, Hilton Ruiz, Steve Berrios, Paul Carr, Joe Ford, Eva Cassidy 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 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 also commissioned to compose a piece for Jane Franklin Dance that premeired 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. A second tour followed with concerts and workshops in India, Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Phillipines.
Currently Mark still works with Duende Quartet and is part of a new project The Anansi Trio which is releasing their first CD in 2018. Mark also continues to freelance with many artists in the Baltimore/Washington area and records frequently with producer David Earl at Severn Records.
An avid educator, Mark has performed many clinics and master classes and also teaches privately at his home studio and at the Music & Arts Center in Rockville, Md.