Mark Guiliana: Jazz Drummer Profile and Complete Discography

About Mark Guiliana

Mark Guiliana, celebrated by The New York Times as “a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed,” is a superstar in the realms of drumming and composition.

His adventurous spirit, eclectic musical palette, and innate talent for spontaneous invention have earned him recognition across a broad spectrum of musical styles.

Master of Versatility: Spanning Genres and Styles

Guiliana’s virtuosity is not confined to a single genre.

He skillfully navigates through acoustic jazz, boundary-stretching electronic music, and innovative rock, making him a valuable collaborator for original sonic thinkers like Brad Mehldau, Meshell Ndegeocello, Donny McCaslin, Matisyahu, and the late David Bowie.

Early Influences: Grunge and Beyond

Guiliana’s initial connection with the drums was forged in his teenage years, heavily influenced by the grunge era, with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden shaping his early musical landscape.

This connection deepened with his discovery of jazz in high school, where he was drawn to its complexity, nuances, and diversity.

Journey Through Jazz and Electronic Music

Moving from the suburbs of New Jersey to William Paterson University exposed Guiliana to a community of like-minded musicians.

It was here that he encountered “Feed Me Weird Things” by UK electronica pioneer Squarepusher, opening a new world of sonic possibilities.

This pivotal moment led him to explore electronic music alongside jazz, further diversifying his musical expertise.

Blending Influences: From Rock to Jazz and Electronica

Guiliana’s music seamlessly blends the raw power of hard rock, the spiritual depth of jazz icons like John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and the innovative electronic manipulations of artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin.

This unique combination of influences is evident in the varying focus of his albums and projects.

His career showcases a spectrum of musical endeavors, from the traditional sounds of his Jazz Quartet to the innovative BEAT MUSIC projects, such as the self-titled 2013 EP and The Los Angeles Improvisations.

His work also includes the electro-acoustic duo Mehliana with Brad Mehldau and the electronic-infused compositions of the Donny McCaslin Quartet.

Mehliana: A Unique Collaboration

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana's Mehliana – Taming the Dragon Album Cover

A highlight of Guiliana’s career is Mehliana, his electric duo with Brad Mehldau on keyboards and synthesizers.

Their debut album, Taming the Dragon (Nonesuch), released in 2014, showcases Guiliana’s innovative approach to drumming, blending jazz sensibilities with electronic music’s edge.

The David Bowie Experience

David Bowie Blackstar album cover

Another pivotal moment in Guiliana’s career was his collaboration with David Bowie on the acclaimed album Blackstar.

Guiliana reflects on this experience as profoundly influential, admiring Bowie’s ability to balance a clear artistic vision with a democratic and open creative environment. This encounter left a lasting impact on Guiliana, shaping his approach to music and art.

Educator and Innovator: Exploring Your Creativity on the Drumset Book

Mark Guiliana - Exploring Your Creativity on the Drumset Book

In addition to his illustrious career as a performer, Mark Guiliana has also established himself as a distinguished educator with the release of his book, Exploring Your Creativity on the Drumset (buy on Amazon).

This instructional work presents his unique D.R.O.P. system (Dynamics, Rate, Orchestration, Phrasing), offering drummers a comprehensive framework to expand their rhythmic capabilities and creativity.

Accompanied by live footage featuring his collaborations with notable musicians like Tim Lefebvre and Jason Lindner, the book and its online resources provide an immersive learning experience.

Guiliana’s approach not only demystifies complex rhythmic concepts but also encourages drummers to find and hone their unique voice, further cementing his role as an innovative force in drumming and music education for the 21st century.

Redefining Drumming in the 21st Century

Mark Guiliana stands as a pioneering figure in music, continuously redefining the role of the drummer in the 21st century.

His work is a testament to innovation, creativity, and relentless exploration in the world of modern music, making him a beacon of inspiration for current and future generations.

Mark Guiliana Discography

Mark Guiliana – Mischief (2023)

Mark Guiliana Mischief Album Cover

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Mark Guiliana – drums, percussion
Chris Morrissey – bass
Shai Maestro – piano
Jason Rigby – tenor saxophone, percussion

Label: Edition Records

Mischief, Mark Guiliana‘s latest release, emerges from the same creative wellspring that produced the 2022’s acclaimed album the sound of listening, yet it carves out its own distinct identity.

The album epitomizes the essence of a band that has been intricately interwoven for eight years, showcasing their most spontaneous and effortless performance to date.

Recorded during the same sessions as its predecessor, Mischief unveils a different facet of the band’s musical prowess, exuding a raw liveness and an unbridled spontaneity, which Guiliana aptly describes as a ‘sonic photograph of the band.’

Far from being an afterthought or mere supplementary material, Mischief stands independently as a powerful artistic statement.

It is a vivid snapshot of a group of exemplary musicians who share an extraordinary level of understanding and empathy, a result of their eight-year collaboration.

The album’s authenticity is heightened by the absence of studio manipulation, such as overdubs or electronic enhancements, offering a pure, live, and direct experience of the band’s sound.

The musical journey of the album is diverse and engaging, from the smooth vamps of “Confession #1” to the intricate rhythms of “Audience Américain,” and culminating in the more traditional cadences of the Fred Rogers song “When the Day Turns Into Night.”

Through Mischief, Mark Guiliana reaffirms his position as a visionary in the world of music.

The album is a testament to his ongoing quest for exploration and innovation, not just as a drummer, but also as an artist, composer, and bandleader.

Mark Guiliana – the sound of listening (2022)

Mark Guiliana the sound of listening album cover

Stream: SpotifyApple MusicTidal

Mark Guiliana – drums, synths, programming
Jason Rigby – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet
Chris Morrissey – bass
Shai Maestro – piano, synths, keys

Label: Edition Records

Buy Mark Guiliana’s the sound of listening Vinyl

Mark Guiliana‘s 2022 release the sound of listening (intentionally in lowercase) marks a new direction in his music, distinct from his acclaimed quartet albums Jersey and Family First and divergent from his BEAT MUSIC! work.

This album embodies a deeply honest and expressive journey, showcasing a musician confident in his path and eager to communicate with a trusted circle.

Drawing inspiration from Thích Nhất Hạnh’s book Silence, the album explores ‘the inner silence required to truly observe the world,’ a theme that resonates throughout its tracks.

In the sound of listening, Guiliana unifies his vast range of influences, from acoustic to electronic, weaving them with miniature vignettes into a cohesive narrative.

The album serves as a reflective lens for Guiliana, allowing him to see the world and his role in it from a broader perspective, where differences converge and viewpoints align.

Track titles like “a path to bliss” and “the most important question” mirror Guiliana’s journey towards serenity and introspection, making the album a thoughtful and introspective work.

Throughout his career, Guiliana has cultivated a diverse following, both for his solo projects and collaborations with artists like Avishai Cohen, Brad Mehldau, Gretchen Parlato, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Bowie, and St. Vincent.

the sound of listening reaffirms his status as a versatile artist, where expectations are consistently surpassed, and new creative territories are explored.

Mark Guiliana – Music for Doing (2022)

Mark Guiliana Music for Doing Album Cover

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Mark Guiliana – drums, percussion, piano, synthesizers, Morfbeats gamelan strips, Moog bass, drum programming, spoken word
David Binney – saxophone (on 2, 3, 5)
Daphne Chen – violin (on 2, 4)
Troy Zeigler – spoken word (on 5)

Label: Colorfield Records

Music for Doing, released in January 2022 on Colorfield, marks another innovative full-length record by Mark Guiliana.

Recorded at Lucy’s Meat Market in Eagle Rock, CA, the album stands out for its emphasis on improvisation and sonic exploration.

True to Guiliana’s explorative nature, each track on Music For Doing began as a blank canvas, evolving organically into its final form by the end of each day’s session.

This album diverges from conventional drum records, offering a rich tapestry of sounds built upon a rhythmic foundation yet presenting a diverse range of musical expressions.

The intro track, “Song for Making Things Right,” sets a moody tone, juxtaposing scattered drum patterns with a squelchy low end, and crescendos into an ’80s-inspired synth breakdown.

Another highlight, “Song for Investigating Consciousness,” features David Binney on sax and Daphne Chen on violin, showcasing Guiliana’s knack for integrating unexpected instruments and electronic elements.

Throughout Music For Doing, Guiliana’s inventive approach to composition and sound design is evident, making the album a testament to his ability to transcend traditional musical boundaries.

Mark Guiliana – Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! (2019)

Mark Guiliana Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! album cover

Stream: SpotifyApple MusicTidal

Mark Guiliana – drums
Chris Morrissey, Stu Brooks, Jonathan Maron, Tim Lefebvre – bass
Jason Lindner, BIGYUKI, Jeff Babko – keyboards
Troy Zeigler, Steve Wall – electronics
Cole Whittle, Jeff Taylor – spoken word
Gretchen Parlato – vocals

Label: Motéma Music

Buy Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! Vinyl

Released in 2019, Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! is an embodiment of Mark Guiliana‘s unique vision for his project BEAT MUSIC, transcending the boundaries of a traditional band to form a vibrant community of artists.

Over a decade, Guiliana has nurtured a family of musicians who share a passion for the limitless possibilities of electronic music, combined with the spontaneous creativity rooted in jazz improvisation.

This album, released by Motéma Music, is a vigorous exploration of eclectic grooves, cinematic soundscapes, and a captivating mix of textures and voices.

The album showcases Guiliana’s ability to bring together a diverse group of collaborators, including bassists Chris Morrissey, Stu Brooks, Jonathan Maron, and Tim Lefebvre; keyboardists Jason Lindner, BIGYUKI, and Jeff Babko; and electronic artists Troy Zeigler and Steve Wall.

The result is a blend of written compositions and individual expressions, where each musician’s unique style contributes to the overall tapestry of sound.

Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! represents a departure from Guiliana’s previous jazz-oriented works, offering a through-composed experience with elements of microscopic improvisation in every note.

Guiliana’s journey to electronic music, from his grunge roots to his exploration of jazz and electronica, is evident in this album’s diverse influences.

These range from the raw intensity of hard rock to the spiritual depth of jazz greats and the complex electronic manipulations of artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin.

Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! is a confluence of various musical elements – the electronic and acoustic, the composed and spontaneous, deeply-rooted inspirations, and modern invention.

Personal elements also weave through the album, with tracks like “BLOOM” offering glimpses into Guiliana’s family life, and “BONES” featuring a poem recited by Guiliana himself.

Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! was recognized for its innovative approach and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, solidifying Guiliana’s status as a forward-thinking artist in the modern music landscape.

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Jersey (2017)

Mark Guiliana Jersey Album Cover

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Mark Guiliana – drums
Jason Rigby – tenor saxophone
Fabian Almazan – piano
Chris Morrissey – bass
Gretchen Parlato, Jeff Taylor, Jason Rigby, Fabian Almazan, Chris Morrissey, Mark Guiliana & Marley Guiliana – vocals on “Where Are We Now?”

Label: Motéma Music

Jersey, released in 2017 by the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, is a standout album that not only showcases Mark Guiliana‘s prowess as one of the world’s leading drummers but also his depth as a bandleader.

Revered for his rhythmic sophistication and creative impulse, Guiliana delivers a personal statement with Jersey, paying homage to his roots and home.

The album is a testament to the quartet’s cohesion and refined expression, featuring saxophonist Jason Rigby, pianist Fabian Almazan, and bassist Chris Morrissey.

Following the success of the quartet’s 2015 release Family First, Jersey continues to captivate listeners.

Guiliana, known for his dynamic energy and status as a modern jazz legend, reveals a more composed side as a bandleader.

The quartet’s synergy is palpable, with each member contributing to the album’s distinct, purposeful sound.

Rigby’s direct saxophone play, Almazan’s understated piano solos, and Morrissey’s supportive bass lines, who also penned two compositions for the album, create a harmonious blend of individual talents.

Tracks like “September” and “Big Rig Jones” exemplify the band’s controlled yet expressive style, striking a balance between somber moments and triumphant marches.

The title track “Jersey” itself is a powerful piece, embodying the group’s tight-knit performance and artistic maturity.

The album culminates with a poignant rendition of David Bowie‘s “Where Are We Now” from Blackstar, an album that also featured Guiliana, bringing a sense of emotional culmination to the record.

Jersey stands as a significant step in the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet’s evolution, showcasing the collaborative spirit and balanced artistry of these four remarkable musicians.

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Family First: The Alternate Takes (2015)

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet Family First: The Alternate Takes Album Cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music, Tidal

Mark Guiliana – drums
Chris Morrissey – bass
Shai Maestro – piano
Jason Rigby – saxophone

Label: Beat Music Productions

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Family First (2015)

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet Family First Album Cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music

Mark Guiliana – drums
Chris Morrissey – bass
Shai Maestro – piano
Jason Rigby – saxophone

Label: Beat Music Productions

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana’s Mehliana: Taming the Dragon (2014)

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana's Mehliana – Taming the Dragon Album Cover

Stream: SpotifyApple MusicTidal

Brad Mehldau – Fender Rhodes, synthesizers
Mark Guiliana – drums, effects

Label: Nonesuch Records

Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, released in 2014 by Nonesuch Records, is the debut album from the electric duo of Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana.

This groundbreaking collaboration brings together Mehldau’s skills on Fender Rhodes and synthesizers with Guiliana’s expertise on drums and effects, capturing the essence of their dynamic live performances, including their notable US tour.

The album features 12 original tracks, showcasing a blend of joint compositions and Mehldau’s individual creations, all expertly engineered and mixed by Greg Koller.

Mehliana is more than just a display of Mehldau’s keyboard finesse and Guiliana’s rhythmic prowess; it represents a unique fusion of their musical paths.

The album stands out in the world of modern jazz and electronic music for its innovative approach to composition and sound with Mehldau earning a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for his work on “Sleeping Giant.”

Mehliana: Taming the Dragon not only showcases the duo’s individual talents but also marks a significant moment in their careers, as they blend diverse musical elements to create something truly fresh and exciting.

This album is a testament to their creative synergy and a significant contribution to contemporary music.

Mark Guiliana – My Life Starts Now (2014)

Mark Guiliana  My Life Starts Now Album Cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music

Mark Guiliana – drums, electronics
Stu Brooks – electric bass
Yuki Hirano – keyboards
Michael Severson – guitar
Jeff Taylor – voice
Gretchen Parlato – voice
Meshell Ndegeocello – spoken word

Label: Beat Music Productions

Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music – The Los Angeles Improvisations (2014)

Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music The Los Angeles Improvisations album cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music

Mark Guiliana – acoustic and electronic drums
Tim Lefebvre – electric bass)
Jeff Babko – keyboards)
Troy Zeigler – electronics)

Label: Beat Music Productions

Mark Guiliana – A Form of Truth (2013)

Mark Guiliana A Form of Truth album cover

Mark Guiliana – drums, electronics
Tim Lefebvre, Neal Persiani – bass
Aaron Dugan, Nir Felder – guitar
Jeff Taylor – vocals
Jason Lindner – keyboards
David Binney – saxophone
Mike Severson – guitar, bass
Meshell Ndegeocello – bass

Label: HEERNT Music

Mark Guiliana – Beat Music EP (2013)

Mark Guiliana Beat Music EP album cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music, Tidal

Mark Guiliana – drums, electronics
Tim Lefebvre – electrics bass
Jason Lindner – keyboards

Label: Rockwood Music Hall

Heernt – Locked in a Basement (2006)

Mark Guiliana Heernt  Locked in a Basement Album Cover

Stream: SpotifyApple Music, Tidal

Mark Guiliana – drums, electronics
Neal Persiani – electric bass
Zac Colwell – saxophone, keyboards

Label: Razdaz Recordz

Mark Guiliana’s Nextbop Blog Archive

Mark Guiliana FAQ

Is Mark Guiliana’s wife a singer?

Yes, Mark Guiliana’s wife is indeed a singer. Her name is Gretchen Parlato, and she is recognized for her exceptional vocal talents and contributions to the music industry.

Which electronic influences does drummer Mark Guiliana cite?

Drummer Mark Guiliana often cites significant electronic influences in his music, particularly the innovative electronic manipulations of artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin.

This influence is evident in his unique blending of genres, combining the raw power of hard rock with the spiritual depth of jazz, and the cutting-edge aspects of electronic music.

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