About Mark Kelso
About Mark Kelso
Originally hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Canadian drummer Mark Kelso has made Toronto, Canada his home for quite some time. Not only is he a skilled musician who plays drums and percussion, but he is also a singer, producer and composer as well. As a sideman Mark has earned 4 Juno awards and has been nominated three times as a leader with his own 2 groups, the Jazz Exiles (2016 & 2023) and the Chronicles of Fezziwig Project (2020). Mark has been Artistic Director for the Jazz Room in Waterloo since 2016 and was the head of percussion at Humber College from 2005-2021. His new recording “The Dragon’s Tail” was released in the fall of 2022.
Mark’s ability to play a wide variety of musical styles has helped him become one of Canada’s most sought after drummers. An all around player, he has worked/recorded with a wide array of artists such as Pat Metheny, Donny McCaslin, Laila Biali, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Michael Bublé, Changuito, David Clayton-Thomas, Holly Cole, Larry Coryell, Eliana Cuevas, Paquito D’Riveria, Hilario Duran, David Foster, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Olivia Newton John, Molly Johnson, Chaka Khan, Pat LaBarbera, Donnell Leahy, Natalie MacMaster, Bob Mintzer, Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Donny Osmond, Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, Jovino Santos Neto, NOJO, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Bonnie Raitt, Maria Schneider, John Scofield, Ron Sexsmith, Mike Stern, Soul Stew, James Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Ian Tyson, Gino Vannelli, Carol Welsman and his own band, The Jazz Exiles. Mark runs “Groovy Drums Studio” where he records drum tracks for many artists around the world. To date he has played on over 450 recordings. Mark released his very first instructional DVD “Musician First, Drummer Second” in 2016 to great acclaim.
Aside from playing many sessions and movie soundtracks, Mark has also been featured in articles for “DRUMHEAD” Drums, ETC “, “Canadian Musician ” and “Modern Drummer” magazines and has been a featured clinician/performer at the Montreal Drumfest, IAJE, Musicfest, KOSA, Percussive Arts Society, Regina Drum Festival, Whack Bam Thudd festival, Yamaha Canada, The Stickman Drum Experience, Victoria Drum Festival, the Ralph Angelillo Drum Festival and the Cape Breton Drum Festival. Mark proudly endorses Yamaha Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Evans Drum heads and Headhunters drumsticks.