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Canadian Heritage

Mark McLean


MARK McLEAN (drummer) was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By the age of nine, he was already regarded as a gifted classical pianist, but by the age of 14, he was pursuing a parallel career as a drummer, which, by the time he was 18, took priority over the piano as a musical interest. He graduated with honors from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Performance Degree in Jazz in 1998, and that summer, he taught at both the I.M.C. Jazz Camp and at the Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute. It was University of Toronto faculty member Don Thompson who invited him to play on the first of the more than 40 recordings on which he has since appeared, and it was not long before he was playing with Canadian jazz icon, Oscar Peterson.

McLean moved to New York City in 1999 to study with jazz drummer Kenny Washington, and was immediately captivated by the city and its exciting jazz scene, quickly determining “that it was the place where I was supposed to be”. Rapidly establishing a reputation as an outstanding musician, his career soared as a ‘first call’ to work with some of the biggest names on the jazz and entertainment scene early on, including Andy Bey, Dweey Redman, Diana Krall, Jimmy Webb, Glen Campbell, Carla Cook, Joe Sample, Andy Ezrin, Patti Austin, The Backstreet Boys, and Quincy Jones. He has remained at the top of the studio scene, too, recording with everyone from Gladys Knight, Linda Eder, Andy Bey, and Molly Johnson to Peter Cincotti, Andrea Bocelli, Serena Ryder, Jane Bunnett, and Billy Joel.

Mark McLean was the drummer with ‘Jane Bunnett and Friends’ when they performed during the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Series on December 13, 1999, and again with the David Braid Trio on March 12, 2001.