Gary Marks - singer, songwriter, author  
  singer, songwriter & author  
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Biography & Reviews



For a songwriter with such a distinct sound and style, Gary Marks has been able to succeed in many different musical genres throughout his four decade career.

In the '70's Marks enjoyed success as both a folk and jazz artist. In the '80's and '90's he became known as one of the most unique and sophisticated rock songwriters in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Since 1973 Marks has released eleven critically acclaimed recordings. He has also written and published twenty novels and non-fiction books on various subjects since 1988.

Gary’s first recording from 1973, Gathering, featuring John Scofield and many other jazz greats, was re-released as "a folk-rock-jazz classic" in Europe in 2007. It was re-released again in Japan and Asia in 2011. This was followed by the re-release of his second and third albums, Upon Oanda's Wing, and Thoughts of Why, in Japan and Asia in 2012 and 2013.

In 2013, Gary’s latest CD, “No Turning Back,” was released world-wide.

(All of Gary Marks’ recordings are available on iTunes.)


Gary Recording Music

Gary Marks was born in Manhattan, N.Y. in 1950. His mother was a classical violinist who performed solo at Carnegie Hall at the age of ten. But his mom also loved R&B, rock, folk, jazz, and Motown. . . .Ray Charles, the Beatles, Dylan's first recordings, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, The Supremes, and The Four Tops were the sounds that resonated through his house as a young boy.

In 1973, Marks self-produced "Gathering" after being offered free recording time at “Ultra Sonic Studios” in New York. He was accompanied by his band of future jazz greats, including guitarist John Scofield, pianist Michael Cochrane, and vibraphonist David Samuels. The LP was distributed internationally by J.C.O.A. (Jazz Composers’ Organization of America). He toured the US and Europe before settling down in California in 1976.

During this time, Gary introduced Scofield and Samuels to three other brilliant musicians that he had met on the West Coast: Art Lande, Mark Isham, and Paul McCandless, of “Oregon.” They were soon playing on Marks’ new recordings, "Upon Oanda's Wing," (1977) and "Thoughts of Why," (1978).

 

Jazz Magazine's W. Patrick Hinely wrote:
". . . A flow chart of 'Upon Oanda's Wing' might closely resemble some of Milton Nasciemento's EMI albums, which still serve as a paragon for anyone trying to be equally convincing across the board, from tight vocals and arrangements, to wide open instrumental playing."

In 1985, Gary’s music took a dramatic stylistic change. His fourth major album release, “Past the Nightwatch,“ gathered together some of the best rock players in the San Francisco Bay Area. The song, "Only Time Can Tell," was recorded by Teresa Trull, on her album, "A Step Away," receiving international airplay.

 

Larry Kelp of the Oakland Tribune wrote this about Marks' recording, "Past the Nightwatch."
"Marks shows a knack for combining a catchy and memorable song with mature and often brilliant lyrics about love, relationships, and finding a place in the world. . .always a rare thing in the world of commercial music.”

Gary's follow-up album in 1988, "The Real World," brought him further commercial success as a songwriter. Cris Williamson and Teresa Trull recorded three songs from “The Real World” on their duo album, "Country Blessed."

 

Bay Area music reviewer, Derk Richardson, wrote this in "BAM" (Bay Area Music Magazine) about "The Real World:"
". . . Superb song craft. . . keen arrangements. If familiar reference points are Steve Winwood and Bruce Hornsby, Marks demonstrates as much care to the architecture of a song as those two certified platinum stars did on their most recent outings. Each song is intelligent, exceptional . . ."


Simultaneously in 1988, Marks published his first novel, "The Dance and the Diamond Sky," which uses the late '60's as a backdrop for what continue to be current social and political issues.

 

Sherry Robb of Robb Literary, Los Angeles wrote:
"An amazing book, beautifully written, about a critical time in our country's history. Though this coming of age tale is about a time decades removed, 'The Dance and the Diamond Sky' generates wisdom that directly reflects upon the internal and external struggles we face today. There are no cliches here. There is humor, plenty of drama, and a great ending. A story that needed to be written finally was. . . ."

Gary's next recording, "If All They Said Was True," was released in 1994, and introduced nine new songs.

 

When the San Francisco Bay Guardian published it's 18th annual "Best of San Francisco" edition in 1996, Marks' songwriting career was highlighted:
"Marks is a meticulous craftsman, injecting his modern rock sound with interesting harmonic subtleties and powerful lyrics. . . [His] lyrics poetically address how we treat each other and our planet."


Marks continued producing recordings without touring, without local performances, and without publicity, yet trying to stay true to his art:

In 1999 he released, "Bountiful," followed by an unplugged release of the songs on "Bountiful," called, "Self-Portraits."

In 2007 Gary released A Whisper Can Change the World," mixed by Jim Scott in LA. He also began writing novels at a rapid pace, a pace that has continued for the last 10 years. Marks currently has written 17 novels. (See BOOKS section.)

In 2010 Marks released, "From Here," mixed by Mark Needham in LA.

In 2013, Marks' new rock CD, "No Turning Back," was released world-wide. And his third album from 1977, "Thoughts of Why," was re-released in Asia by Stella Records. He also signed a publishing deal with Stella records for all songs world-wide.

In 2016, Gary was extraordinarily prolific, writing four new novels, all of which can be found on Amazon and in the BOOKS section of this website.

In March of 2017 Gary published a short novel called, Beyond Henry

Gary Marks lives in Maui, Hawaii, with his wife, Theresa. They also work and spend time in Europe and California. They have three children.

Gary's 21 year-old daughter, Skylar, is a singer / songwriter who has recorded and released five recordings of original music, and has become an award-winning photographer (follow her Instagram photos under “skylarindasky"). Also see Skylar's music and photography website: SkylarMarks.com

Gary's 18 year-old daughter, Annabel, is a singer / songwriter who has recorded and released three recordings of original music. She is currently attending UC Berkeley majoring in physics.

Skylar's and Annabel's original songs can be heard on iTunes and Spotify.

Gary’s 14 year-old son, Shawn, is angling to be the drummer on Gary's next record, and is making a good case for himself.

In 2017, Gary Marks continues to write songs and novels for various upcoming projects in Europe and the US.

 
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