Mark Whitfield is a highly regarded performer with a sound that touches upon both straight-ahead jazz and soulful R&B. Born in 1966 in Lindenhurst, New York, Whitfield started out on bass and switched to guitar around age 15. Influenced early on by the warm, soulful style of George Benson, he eventually won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating in 1987, he moved to New York, where Benson himself connected the guitarist to organist Jack McDuff, an association that helped launch his career. Since then, he has performed with a bevy of luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Art Blakey, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Carmen McRae, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry, Shirley Horn, Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, and more. Whitfield made his solo debut with The Marksman on Warner Bros. in 1990.
Patrice and 1993's Mark Whitfield. He then moved to Verve for a series of well-received efforts, including 1994's True Blue and 1997's Forever Love. He rounded out his Verve deal with 1999's Take the Ride. A 2000 collaboration for the Jazz Channel with Joel Kipnis (aka JK) showcased the guitarist's more R&B-influenced sound. Also in 2000, he delivered the live album Raw, featuring his quartet with pianist Robert Glasper, bassist Brandon Owens, and drummer Donald Edwards. He returned in 2005 with the stylistically expansive Mark Whitfield Featuring Panther. In 2009 he paid homage to longtime inspiration Stevie Wonder on Songs of Wonder, and then earned a Grammy Award nomination for his work on Kenny Garrett's 2013 effort, Pushing the World Away. In 2017 Whitfield released Grace, which showcased his family band with sons drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr. and pianist Davis Whitfield.