Mark Colby was born in Brooklyn, NY to a father who was a professional musician and passed his love for music on to his son. By age 8, Mark was playing the clarinet and by 11 he had switched to saxophone. At age 13, his family moved to Miami and soon, his professional music career began. Through high school and college, Mark worked professionally playing private functions and shows on Miami Beach where he played with Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Bill Cosby and scores of other acts.
While in college, Colby started recording with Dr. John, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and the Bee Gees. After graduating from the University Of Miami with a Masters degree in Jazz Studies, he got called to join Maynard Ferguson’s band in June of 1975. Mark stayed as featured soloist and musical director for three years. After traveling around the world, touring and recording with Maynard, he joined Bob James band and stayed there for the next 6 years. Bob James signed Mark to Columbia Records where he recorded two solo albums.
In 1980, Mark moved to Chicago where he quickly was accepted in the ranks of studio musicians recording albums and jingles. During that time, he appeared with Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Joe Williams and also Jaco Pastorius whom he had played with during the 1970s. Mark has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Milwaukee and Miami Symphony Orchestras.
In 1983, Colby received an invitation to join the jazz faculty at Depaul University, and in 1998 also joined the faculty at Elmhurst College. For the past twenty years or so, Mark has also been doing clinics, workshop, and concerts with high school and college bands representing Selmer saxophones and Vandoren reeds.
In 1998, Mark signed with Hallway Records where he has released 3 critically acclaimed solo recordings. His first album titled Reunion featured Mark in duet with pianist Vince Maggio. Mark’s second album, Tenor Reference was recorded live at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. His latest, "Speaking Of Stan," dedicated to Colby’s friend and mentor Stan Getz, reached #3 on the Jazz Radio Charts.
Photo Credit: Sam Schacker
Reunion with Vince Maggio (Hallway Records, 1999) Tenor Reference (Hallway Records, 2001) Speaking of Stan (Hallway Records, 2006)