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.
During his career Mark has worked with a wide variety of artists in the jazz and Latin music fields including Herbie Hancock, Randy Brecker, Steve Turre, Rene McLean, Hilton Ruiz, Joe Ford 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 drummers Julito Collazo and Steve Berrios 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 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. A second tour followed in 2009 with concerts and masterclasses in India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
In April of 2023, Mark participated in the worldwide concert event for International Jazz Day performing with Herbie Hancock, Ben Williams, Walter Smith III and Ambrose Akinmusire.
Currently Mark is part of The Anansi Trio which has released two recordings to positive reviews.
An avid educator, Mark has presented many clinics and master classes and teaches privately at his home studio.
Drum Set and Latin Percussion
Musicians Institute in Los Angeles