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CD release Party!

imageDear friends,

The Kickstarter project for my CD release has ended and because of your help, the project was successfully funded. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! Now I have some exciting news to share with you:

Classic Pianos and Mark Simon cordially invite you to Mark Simon’s Inkling CD Release Concert on Sunday, November 2nd, from 2:00pm until 5:00pm. The party will take place at Classic Piano’s recital room and there is a $10 admission charge. You can purchase tickets at or pay at the door. For those who choose to pay at the door, cash is encouraged, and admission will be collected as you enter the recital room.

There will be a complimentary snack table as well as a merchandise table set up in the back of the room. CDs will be available at the merchandise table at a special release party price of $12. There will be posters for sale also available at the merchandise table. Seating will be on a first come first serve basis. Mark will be happy to meet with you and to sign any items you may want him to.

The Mark Simon Quintet is fast becoming one of Portland’s top jazz groups. The lineup of players is impressive; Paul Mazzio – trumpet/flugelhorn, Devin Phillips – tenor saxophone, Larry Bard – drums, Chris Higgins – bass and composer/bandleader Mark Simon on piano. Each of the band’s members has performance experience with nationally and internationally known jazz artists and have appeared at many jazz festivals and on several recordings.

The brand new “Inkling” CD consists of ten Mark Simon originals that guide you through hard-bop, post-bop, pop and funk landscapes.

Composer/bandleader Mark Simon says “I feel strongly that my music must be heard, not for my personal gain, but for my desire to contribute to society something that is thoughtful, beautiful and has integrity. If you want cerebral jazz with no heart, this is not for you. My music aims to touch hearts and souls, yet has enough meat on the bones to stimulate the mind as well.”

Classic Pianos Recital Hall
3003 SE Milwaukie Ave (@ the corner of SE Powell Blvd.)
United States

For inquiries, please contact Mark at

Kickstarter Launch Announcement

Dear members of the Mark Simon Music family,

I am very happy to announce that you can help me to release my next CD featuring the Mark Simon Quintet!

The CD is named Inkling and features ten of my original compositions. The music will take you on a musical tour of many different feels and grooves. An exploration of the full spectrum of jazz through the lens of your’s truly.

Click here to learn more about this CD project and you will have the opportunity to donate towards it and earn wonderful rewards!

If you are excited about the project, please share the link with your family and friends!

Camellia Lounge Gig

MSQ_PortraitPoster_Camellia09_06_14Come check out our next Quintet gig at the Camellia Lounge on September 6th.

Mark Simon Quintet (MSQ) – The Tea Zone & Camellia Lounge
510 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, (503) 221-2130, 8:00pm-10:30pm, Cover $10
Devin Phillips -tenor sax | Paul Mazzio – trumpet | Mark Simon – piano | Larry Bard – drums | Chris Higgins – bass
Great intimate atmosphere, tasty and affordable menu, unique adult beverages, over-all a great environment to enjoy a live performance by the Mark Simon Quintet!
Purchase Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets  –  or please call the Camellia Lounge to make reservations at (503) 221-2130

Getting Started at the Piano

Mark Simon and his brother Fred, at the piano

My brother Fred is six years older than me. He had a gift for music that was obvious from an early age. About the time that I was six years of age, 12-year old Fred would not only thoroughly practice his piano lesson, he would also play original compositions and improvisations. Even at this early age, Fred’s music had intent and a decisive direction.

My Big Brother, Fred

Fred was not allowed to practice the piano until homework and chores were completed. I, being only six, was carted off to bed just about the same time my brother started practicing and playing. My folks were serious about bedtime, so they would come back to my room about 20 minutes after tucking me in to confirm that I was sleeping. It is quite a simple matter for a kid to make his parents think he is asleep! As long as Fred was playing the piano, I was not going to sleep. Even when he was done practicing, I would turn on the transistor radio beneath my pillow and listen to more music, or perhaps a Cubs, Bulls or Blackhawks game (depending on the time of year).

When Fred played his compositions and improvised during the daytime, I would stand behind him and study his fingers. He did not enjoy that, probably because he felt it would be better for me to make my own discoveries at the keyboard. So my solution was to hide around the corner, stick out my head and sneak a peek at his fingers on the keyboard. That way I could associate what I was hearing with how my hands should look on the keyboard. When Fred would leave the house, I would mimic what I heard and saw my older brother do. This led to me finding my very own compositions and improvisations.

At the age of seven, I had a friend who showed me some basic melodies on the piano. I could play the six or seven simple tunes he showed me; however, it was Fred who set the musical and pianistic standard for me to attempt to uphold. So I was playing, composing and improvising at the age of eight, eighteen months before my first piano lesson.

My parents felt that children were not mature enough to take full advantage of piano instruction until they were 10 years old. My brother Fred started lessons at 10. My dear, departed sister Deb started her lessons at 10. I instigated negotiations with my parents a little before my ninth birthday. They were serious about not letting me start until 10, but I offered to do extra chores around the house in exchange for an early start at the piano. (Perhaps I missed my calling – my parents felt I would make a fine lawyer based on this experience.) They agreed to my proposition, and after six months of doing extra chores, I started lessons at the age of nine and a half.