Mark London Sims’ passion is creating music. Inspired by his grandmother, a gospel pianist, Mark has filled his life with joyous musical opportunities. A native of Southern California, he grew up on soul music from the 60s and 70s. While his parents were at work, he’d spin Motown records on his grandmother’s record player. At 11, his big chance came to play guitar when his uncle needed money to go to Grambling College in Louisiana. He sold Mark an electric guitar for eleven dollars. Unable to afford lessons, Mark bought a couple of guitar books and taught himself music.
From that point until now, Mark’s relationship with music has been ever-growing stronger and unbroken. While an undergraduate at the University California of Santa Barbara, Mark started a couple of jazz groups for which he composed music. At the same time he started playing bass because he couldn't find a bass player for his groups. It was then while practicing in his dorm room that he fell in love with the bass.
After graduating at the top of his class with a Master’s degree in Jazz Composition from California Institute of the Arts, Mark based himself in Los Angeles where he enjoys playing with a multitude of awe-inspiring musicians. From Brazilian to Americana, rock to African music, blues to gospel and jazz to reggae, Mark has continuously worked as a bassist and composer for nearly two decades.
With an unyielding commitment to live music, Mark has played shows throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Last summer his schedule included the Montreux Jazz and Afro Pfingsten world music festivals in Switzerland, the Summerjam Reggae Festival in Germany and a performance in Greenland. He has worked with Don Cherry (Ornette Coleman), Joe Higgs (Bob Marley), Stevie Wonder, Albert "Tootie" Heath (Heath Brothers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock), Charles Neville (Neville Bros), Percy Sledge, Ralph McDonald, Robert Greenidge (Jimmy Buffet), The Watts Prophets, Badialy Cissoko, The Mighty Sparrow, Floyd Domino (Asleep at the Wheel), Calypso Rose, Ken "Professor" Philmore, Aziz Faye, Sonja Marie. The Eels, Nels Cline (Wilco), Dave Wakeling (English Beat), Ben Harper, Mark Nauseef (Thin Lizzy), L. Shankar, Rocky Dawuni and The Untouchables.
Mark also appears on over 50 recordings. He has written, recorded and produced two albums under his name, Strange Groove Picnic and Limited Expression. Several others bear his original compositions. One such record, Dark was honored as one of Billboard Magazine's the top 30 Classic Progressive Music recordings of the 20th Century.