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Mark Helias

Helias' music--painstakingly precise in organization, yet spontaneous in execution -- makes use of the best of modern post-free-jazz possibilities.

– Steve Futterman, Jazziz Magazine

Mark Helias is a renowned bassist and composer who has performed throughout the world for more than three decades.

 After his studies at Rutgers University (B.A. 1974) and The Yale School of Music (M.M. 1976), he began his international career in the Anthony Braxton Quartet. Up to the present time he has performed with a panoply of world class artists including: Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Marcel Khalife, Abbey Lincoln, Oliver Lake, Andrew Cyrille, Marilyn Crispell, Julius Hemphill, Don Byron, Bobby Bradford, Barry Altshul, Ray Anderson, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, and Gerry Hemingway.

A prolific composer, Helias has written music for two feature films as well as chamber pieces and works for large ensemble and big band. His orchestra piece “Stochasm” was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in June of 2011. He has produced many recordings for other artists including Ray Anderson, Tony Malaby, Bobby Previte, Jerome Harris, and Mark Dresser.

Twelve albums of his music have been released since 1984, including “Split Image”, “The Current Set” (1987), “Desert Blue” (1989) “Attack The Future”, (1992) “Loopin’ the Cool” (1995), “Fictionary” (1998), “Come Ahead Back” (1998) “New School” (2001). “Verbs of Will” (2004), “Atomic Clock” (2006), “Strange Unison” (2008). His latest CD, “Explicit”, will be released September, 2011 on the French label Futura Marge.

His trio, Open Loose with Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey, has become an archetypal improvising ensemble on the New York scene. He continues performing and recording with BassDrumBone, a three decade long collaboration with Gerry Hemingway and Ray Anderson. Mr. Helias performs solo bass concerts and can also be heard in the innovative bass duo, “The Marks Brothers”, with fellow bassist Mark Dresser. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School University and SIM (School for Improvisational Music).




Mark Helias' intense and almost indescribable bass playing on his latest live release, Fictionary, exists on a level reserved for the elite of new music bassists today.

– Scott Menhinick, Signal To Noise