Mark Rapp - trumpeter, composer,arranger and bandleader

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Mark is originally from South Carolina, he began playing trumpet in the sixth grade. It was an off-on endeavor but he stuck with it. His musical prowess in high school earned him a music scholarship to attended Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina but he left after a few months. He returned to college at Winthrop University in South Carolina where he received his degree. After graduating he moved to New Orleans to study music with Ellis Marsalis while earning a Masters in Jazz from the University of New Orleans. Mark moved to New York to cast his fate to the musical winds there. It was difficult times in the beginning but his music carried him through.

Many years later...

"Mark Rapp created and launched an all-ages, all-levels summer jazz camp which has featured jazz luminaries such as Delfeayo Marsalis, NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman and Sullivan Fortner. Rapp also created and launched an annual ColaJazz Festival featuring Chris Potter, longtime Wynton Marsalis sideman Wess "Warmdddy" Anderson, Count Basie Musical Director Scotty Barnhart, Brazilian vocalist Liz Rosa, saxophonists Tia Fuller, Don Braden and Alexa Tarantino. In 2018, Rapp was named an Ambassador of Jazz for the State of South Carolina by the SC House of Representatives. Rapp is a 2020 Experience Columbia Ambassador and serves on the McKissick Museum advisory council.
Mark has released 8 diverse recordings and appears as a sideman on a myriad of projects including Disney’s "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" alongside Roy Hargrove, Dave Brubeck, Esperanza Spalding, The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman and more. Rapp’s celebrated 2009 debut release "Token Tale" earned him a spot as a "Top Emerging Trumpeter" in Downbeat Magazine, sold out the Blue Note (NYC) and debuted at the famed Newport Jazz Festival. Rapp is a featured artist in Mellen Press’ "How Jazz Trumpeters Understand Their Music" among a prestigious list including Terence Blanchard, Lew Soloff, Freddie Hubbard, Tim Hagans, Dave Douglas and more. Rapp also composed and produced a jazz ballet "Woven: Life in Notes and Steps”" ( He has performed in jazz clubs and festivals around the world from Croatia, Brasil, Austria, Switzerland and USA including back-to-back appearances at the 2017 & 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  

Performance Experience

Jazz clubs around the world from Snug Harbor (New Orleans), Blue Note (NYC), The Jazz Standard (NYC), Yoshi’s (San Francisco), Blues Alley (Washington, D.C.), Jazzland (Vienna, Austria), AMR (Geneva, Switzerland), Clube do Choro (Natal, Brasil) to Jazz Tunnel (Zagreb, Croatia). Jazz festivals around the world from the JVC Newport Jazz Festival, Fillmore Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, WC Handy Festival, Festival AMR des Cropettes (Switzerland), JazzTimes Festival in Croatia to the Jazz&Blues Festival in Garanhuns, Brazil. Mark was featured at Cirque du Soleil’s opening gala for KA in Las Vegas and invited by Guy Laliberte to perform for his birthday. Mark has been guest soloist with Big Bands, recorded as a special guest artist on CDs, played in the United Nations Symphony Orchestra, and has had many jazz greats perform in his bands including bassist James Genus (Herbie Hancock, Brecker Brothers, Saturday Night Live, Aretha Franklin), Walter Blanding, Jr, Don Braden, Wycliffe Gordon, Nate Smith, Clerence Penn, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson and many others." Content excerpt:   ~ Website [About]


Mark Rapp - Good Eats (2011)

"Legendary saxophonist Lou Donaldson doesn't subscribe to a one-size-fits-all approach in his own music making. His oeuvre, which spans more than half a century, touches on bop, hard bop, soul-jazz, and funk, with each setting allowing for a different aspect of his musical personality to shine. In crafting a tribute to Donaldson, trumpeter Mark Rapp honors this diversity and organic amalgam of music by touching on various styles, as he works his way through Donaldson's catalog."   ~ DAN BILAWSKY -


Mark Rapp and Derek Lee Bronston

The Applum (AP), is a digital album that hearkens back to the vinyl era but with all the accolades and elegance of the digital age.

"Art of the Song, vol. 1 contains unique arrangements of popular songs by bands as diverse as Radiohead, AC/DC and Tears for Fears, as well as four original compositions. The genre in a broader sense, can be called jazz and is a blend of improvisation, singer/songwriter, rock, ambient sound and even includes a taste of New Orleans. Trumpeter Mark Rapp says, 'The tracks are filled with great melodies. From jazz to rock to country to whatever, it’s honest, soulful expression that is our goal.' Guitarist Derek Lee adds, 'We explore the art of the song both written and improvised.”     - from the web Applum notes....


A Tribute to the Music of Billy Strayhorn

from the liner notes....
This pairing of veteran saxophonist-flutist Don Braden and promising young trumpeter Mark Rapp is an inspired coupling. It is successful not only due to their considerable skills and by the enormity of the book Billy Strayhorn left here for us to learn, but also by the wisdom of their discerning manager Gail Boyd. It’s not often that a stable of artists comes together in such an easeful manner that artistically exceeds any sense of crass commercial considerations, but this proves to be an exceptional idea. “Our project is unique because unlike most performances of Strayhorn’s music, we made particular efforts to give the tunes creative, unusual yet contemporary treatments,” insists Don Braden. From the jump that goal is achieved as their novel approach to “Rain Check” kicks off the date with New Orleans second line echoes. This sense of old wine/new bottles was confirmed in communications with Braden, who insists that “We have re-harmonized, re-rhythmized, and even re-melodized some of his great classics, bending and shaping them with elements from throughout the jazz tradition. We also present textural elements that aren’t typical, such as the groove and vibe on “Isfahan,” which is robust and dramatic, “or the use of the alto flute in relatively rare solo mode” on “Daydream”, Braden asserts. “Isfahan” is further enlivened by a bit of polyphony between Braden and Rapp. For his arrangement of “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” Braden borrows gently from Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly.”   
Excerpt By Willard Jenkins - - Home of The Independent Ear


Mark Rappp - Token Tales (2009)

“Mark Rapp’s debut album Token Tales shows many different facets of this trumpeter’s pioneering ways as he crafts a smooth jazz relaxer in “Thank You,” jumps into a funky rapport with his band in “Who’s The Man?” and articulates creamy soul-jazz lifts along “Mr. Tricky.” These are just some of Rapp’s skills at the top of his spreadsheet. He never runs out of ideas about where to take his compositions, whether he is being experimental and engages in some free-style acrobatics like along “Cissy Strut,” or sticks to a traditional jazz keister and classic soaring riffs like in the title track.”    Susan Frances - Jazz Times


Mark Rappp - Token Tales (2009)


Mark Rapp & Derek Lee Bronson are TSP perfroming "Aoife" |
The Song Project (Joe's Pub)

ColaJazz - “Ronda” with Mark Rapp: trumpet, Jonathan Lovett: piano, Dustin Retzlaff: bass and Jay Ware: pandeiro, vibraphone

Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson & Mark Rapp present the music of “Sweet Pappa” Lou Donaldson

Mark Rapp on Lou Donaldson's "Brother Soul" |
Good Eats CD Release Show (Scullers)

Mark Rapp Group  live at L'AMR aux Cropettes 2009, Cissy Strut