Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

March/April 2014: Cécile McLorin Salvant

Mark Guiliana

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Mark Guiliana is one of the most accomplished drummers on the jazz scene today. He has played with many of the modern luminaries of the music, including Jason Lindner, Lionel Loueke, and bassist Avishai Cohen. He recently began a duo project with Brad Mehldau, “Mehliana.”

Guiliana was born in Florham Park, New Jersey, in 1980, and began playing drums at 15, studying with drummer Joe Bergamini. After graduating high school, he went on to study with legendary educator John Riley as well as Kevin Norton at William Paterson University. During his time at WPU, Mark formed a band called HEERNT, an “experimental-garage-jazz” trio based out of New York City. This band released a well-received album, Locked in a Basement.

My interest in Mark is in his role as a “hybrid” musician, who has taken the skills and processes of jazz and applied them to the music that he wants to make. His second solo release, Beat Music, is an exploration in fusing electronic sounds with live drums. Guiliana cites electronic artists Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Photek and Venetian Snares, as well as drumming greats Dave Grohl, Chad Smith, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and others as his primary influences.

Mark’s drumming is paradoxical in that his rhythmic precision is machine-like, with shifting subdivisions being hammered out with micro-sonic precision, yet he retains an incredible organic flow. Listening to him has begun to redefine what I think is possible on my instrument, which to my mind is the mark of true innovation.

In the history of the drumset, I believe he will come to be regarded as one the trailblazers in the tradition of Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Tony Williams and Elvin Jones.

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