Mark Soskin was born July 12, 1953 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Soskin has recorded and performed with such diverse musicians as Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Buster Williams, Eddie Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Cornell Dupree, Herbie Mann, John Abercrombie, Claudio Roditi, Sheila Jordan, Gato Barbieri, Joe Locke, David "Fathead" Newman, Mark Murphy, Slide Hampton, Pete and Sheila Escovedo, Bobby Watson, Miroslav Vitous, The NY Voices and others.
Soskin attended Colorado State University where he pursued classical studies, but at this time his interests in jazz music were growing. In 1973 he enrolled in The Berklee College of Music, studying composition as well as arranging. In Boston he began to work professionally until moving to San Francisco, eventually going on to work with some of the west coast's finest players.
Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, Soskin was introduced to the Latin music legend, Pete Escovedo. Along with Pete's daughter, percussionist Sheila. E, they toured and recorded as Azteca, a group in which Soskin's keyboard, writing, and arranging talents were showcased. Eventually, the group, which now included Tom Harrell on trumpet, went on to record two discs for Fantasy Records, produced by drum ace Billy Cobham. Soskin was enlisted in Cobham's band, a stint that lasted for two years and which produced two recordings for Columbia. Between tours for Cobham, Soskin did a tour and live recording for the CBS All Stars with Tom Scott, Alphonso Johnson, Steve Khan, and Billy Cobham. At this time Soskin was very active as a session player at Fantasy studios in Berkeley, California and veteran jazz music producer Orrin Keepnews took notice.
Soskin signed his first recording contract with Prestige (a subsidiary of Fantasy) produced by Keepnews, entitled "Rhythm Vision." This featured the likes of Benny Maupin and Harvey Mason with the album eventually making it into Billboard's top ten Jazz Chart. Keepnews introduced Soskin to Sonny Rollins, which started a long, fruitful collaboration (14 years). Besides the extensive touring throughout the world, Soskin can be heard on a number of critically acclaimed recordings with the tenor sax master, including a video,"Saxophone Collosus”.
Since 1981 Soskin has resided in New York City, remaining active as sideman and as a leader. He has ten of his own recordings to date and three as co-leader, one which features Harvie Swartz and Joe LaBarbera with Sheila Jordan called "Spirits", one under the name "Contempo Trio" with Danny Gottlieb and Chip Jackson featuring Ravi Coltrane and another Contempo Trio recording named "The Secret of Life" featuring Carolyn Leonhart. His recording, "17" on TCB, highlights Soskin in a quintet setting featuring mainly original compositions.
He continues to maintain a busy tour schedule as well as giving master classes and workshops. Television performance credits include the HBO hit series, "Sex And The City." Examples of arranging projects have been writing for Slide Hampton's "World Of Trombones" and his writing and playing on Steve Smith's DVD, "Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat". Soskin has been featured in solo piano concerts throughout the world such as the Ottawa Jazz Festival. He has performed the premier of contemporary classical music composer John Adams' opera, "Ceiling/Sky" at Lincoln Center.
Soskin is currently on the faculty of The Manhattan School Of Music and has been written up in numerous music publications, including Ira Gitler and Leonard Feather's Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz and The Jazz Book by Joachim E. Berendt. Mark Soskin is featured in the film documenting latin jazz artists entitled "Calle 54”.
He is currently signed with the Kind of Blue label and has produced two recordings for the company, both critically acclaimed. The first is entitled, “One Hopeful Day”which features Chris Potter, Bill Stewart, John Patitucci and John Abercrombie. The second and most recent recording which was released in October, 2009 is “Man Behind The Curtain” with Ravi Coltrane, Bill Stewart and Jay Anderson.
Mark Soskin teaches privately and is available for master classes and workshops.