Helias, Mark

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Helias, Mark

Helias, Mark, jazz bassist, composer, pianist; b. New Brunswick, N.J., Oct. 1, 1950. He was in the first graduating class of the music department at Livingston Coll., Rutgers Univ., in 1974 (B.M.) and finished a Masters Degree at the Yale School of Music in 1976. He has enjoyed long musical associations with Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Ray Anderson, Don Cherry, and Gerry Hemingway, and has worked with Barry Altschul, Oliver Lake, the Slicka-phonics, Abbey Lincoln, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, and Ray Anderson. He did two Japanese tours and some gigs in N.Y. (including Central Park) with the JB Horns in the early 1990s, as well as some with Maceo Parker as leader. He performed in the Anthony Davis operas X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X (1986) and Under the Double Moon, as well as performance, dance, film, and video collaborations with Mary Perillo and John Sanborn. He has composed numerous pieces ranging from solo bass to sym. orch. Since 1981 he has been awarded 13 composition and performance grants, mostly from the NEA. In 1992 his piece “Upside the Downside” was premiered in St. Louis, Mo., by the String Trio of N.Y. The piece was commissioned by Meet the Composer/Readers Digest. In 1996 he collaborated with director Jay Anania in scoring the feature film The Pagan Life of Arthur Rimbaud. He taught privately from 1973-95. He has conducted workshops at the Creative Music Studio (1979–80), Berklee Coll. (1988), and in Amsterdam, Vancouver, and Switzerland. He has taught classes at Sarah Lawrence Coll. since 1997. He has toured regularly as a leader, primarily in Europe, since 1987. His ongoing projects are The Marks Brothers with Mark Dresser in bass duets, The Grid with Erik Friedlander and Chris Speed, Attack the Future featuring Ellery Eskelin and Tom Rainey, and Open/Loose, an improvising trio with rotating personnel.


Split Image (1984); Current Set (1987); Desert Blue (1989); Attackthe Future (1992); The Current Set (1992); Loopin the Cool (1995); Come Ahead Back (1998).

—Lewis Porte