Trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader Mark Rapp is the founder of ColaJazz.com, a jazz initiative to grow and support jazz in and around Columbia, SC through events, education, recordings, and advocacy. In 2019, ColaJazz was 1 of 15 jazz organizations in the country chosen to beta-test the new Jazz at Lincoln Center After-School Content. ColaJazz brings jazz to the Children Hospital, retirement communities, schools and communities in need. In partnership with the Koger Center, Rapp presented a “Jazz for Young People” concert to 700 kids in the Boys & Girls Clubs and shortly after, Rapp presented a “SC Jazz Culture” concert for 2000 Richland One 3rd graders. He is also the co-creator and Artistic Director of the “Live in the Lobby: Koger Jazz” series.
Mark Rapp created and launched an all-ages, all-levels summer jazz camp now entering its 4th year and 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 now entering its 3rd year 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.
Rapp 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 Tales” 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” (wovenballet.com). 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.
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.
Masters in Jazz Studies, University of New Orleans Bachelors in Music Performance, Winthrop University
Mark has studied with Lew Soloff; Wycliffe Gordon; Stephen Jeandheur (Principal Trumpet, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande); Walter Blanding, Jr. (Tenor saxophonist, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra); Marcus Printup (Trumpet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra); Clyde Kerr, Jr (who taught Nicholas Payton, Marlon Jordan, Terence Blanchard and others); Vincent Penzarella (NY Philharmonic), et al.
Mark has maintained a teaching studio throughout his travels. He has given master classes in University settings and has led and coached the United Nation’s World Music Project in Geneva, Switzerland. Mark was a guest lecturer for the Jazz Education Network Conference (Atlanta, Jan 2013), presenting the “Musical Mind: From Spirit to Song.” He is a passionate educator and performing artist and currently teaches privately through Freeway Music.