Born in Montana, Mark began playing piano at age seven, and took up the saxophone in the fifth grade. After making All-State Band in high school, he studied jazz at the University of Montana Jazz Workshops, then performed for ten years in rock and R & B groups in the Pacific Northwest. His next stop was Atlanta, where he formed the 60s tribute group No System. After moving to Baltimore, he co-founded CSJQ in 1994. In 2002 Osteen contributed his first composition to the group, “The Amen Corner.” Since then he has composed more than fifty tunes and added several to CSJQ’s book.
Mark is also president of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing jazz in Baltimore. He produced BJA’s compilation CDs, Baltimore Jazzscapes, and Baltimore Jazzscapes II, and edited The Baltimore Real Book: Original Compositions by Baltimore Jazz Artists. He also plays tenor saxophone in the BJA Big Band. Click here to find out more about the BJA.
When he’ s not performing with CSJQ, Mark teaches English at Loyola University, and works with the Loyola Jazz Ensemble and Combo. Osteen’s favorite non-jazz pursuits include reading, writing (he’s published nine books) and movies.
Composer, director, and pianist Anthony Villa, the most recent addition to CSJQ, received his D.M.A. in composition from the University of Maryland, where he studied under Lawrence Moss. The Washington Post has praised his one of his chamber works as “the rare piece that sounds fresh while hinting at the near past” and as “deserv[ing] a lasting place in the musical firmament.” Villa’s jazz output includes original works for full jazz band as well as for combos. He is Professor of Music at Loyola University Maryland, where he also served for twenty-seven years as director of the Music Program (1985-2012), and where he teaches music theory, jazz history, digital recording, and directs the jazz ensembles. Anthony also leads his own trio, which performs regularly in the Baltimore-Washington area. In 2011 he founded, and currently directs, the Baltimore Jazz Alliance Big Band, which is dedicated to performing and promoting new music by Baltimore-area jazz composers and arrangers. Villa’s music is available through Ardito Music (ASCAP) at arditomusic.com.
A native Baltimorean, Gary has enjoyed working with a plethora of Baltimore’s jazz musicians, in numerous bands, since he started on his musical journey at age 14. You can find him playing in the Baltimore City summer concert series, as part of Baltimore’s Big Band, or at swing dances, weddings and other functions with the Shades of Blue Orchestra or the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. Though Gary enjoys playing in big bands he has a special fondness for working in a small group. He has played with Andy Ennis, Bing Miller, Mickey Fields, Whit Williams, The Platters, and many more. He accompanies his wife, Loretta, on guitar and bass as part of Spats and Playmates. When he’s not playing his bass or guitar, he’s reading, restoring his big old house, or making his kitty cats purr.
Born in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland, Greg began playing drums at 14 years old. Within a few years he was playing professionally with several Variety Bands while continuing to study and develop his drumming techniques and education. Although Greg has performed a variety of styles of music, from pop to rock and country, his favorite is jazz, including Latin styles. Over the years he has also developed an interest in a wider range of percussion instruments, which he incorporates into his musical performances. Greg’s main interest is to develop the quality of his drum sounds in relation to voicing, texture, color, movement, feeling and groove. The most important thing is to play with the other musicians and to LISTEN. His future plans are to keep growing musically and harmoniously.