Mark Maxwell – Jazz Saxophone

Far under the radar of the mainstream entertainment media (and loving every minute of it) is one of the world’s best-selling saxophonists that you may never have heard of: Mark Maxwell. We say best-selling because his 18 self-produced and self-promoted CDs have sold well over half a million copies.

Born into a family of sax players – his mother and sister played sax, and his brother is a professional saxophonist – Maxwell has always been surrounded by music and musical instruments:
“Growing up, we always had a piano and an organ in the house. And whenever I expressed an interest in any instrument my parents always made sure I had it.  I started playing the sax when I was nine, but before that I played guitar, and of course keyboards. I even had a set of drums for a while in my early teens.  My parents, apparently, were saints!”

A veteran of the LA music scene since 1978, Maxwell tells the story of the weekend in 1994 that changed his life:
“I moved out here from Indiana, and I was playing in bands and gigging around.  I have a friend who lives in Tucson, where there is a huge street fair twice a year, and he knew some musicians who were selling their tapes and CDs there, quite successfully. So, at his urging, I recorded a couple album’s worth of my original material, had some cassettes made (I didn’t even have CDs made at that time), and we went and sold my music at this street fair for three days. To my great surprise and delight, they sold like crazy!  And they’ve been selling like crazy ever since.”

Sales aside, and they continue to be strong, for Maxwell it’s all about love:
“I know that I’ve been blessed with the ability to create beautiful, romantic, relaxing, even sometimes dreamy, music.  But I realized very early in my recording career that it’s the energy in the music that people are really responding to.  And for me, sensuous, healing, passionate, loving energy is what naturally comes through me, and it’s what I try to pour into my music.  People love it and need it, and can never get enough it.”

Maxwell’s performances are love-fests as well:
“We tend to play a lot of different styles when we perform – smooth jazz, old standards, some blues, etc. – but we always come back to and concentrate on music that expresses love and romance.  I mean, really, we love our fans and we want them to feel loved. And we love doing special things for our fans, like the time we had chocolate saxophones made for everyone who attended our Christmas concert several years ago. That was special.”

Versatility seems to be a keyword in the musical life of Mark Maxwell, a multi-instrumentalist who’s CD catalog covers a variety of styles, and who’s playing style has been likened to saxophonists as widely varied as Paul Desmond and Grover Washington, Jr., and as distinctively different as Stan Getz and Boney James.  As not only a musician, but also as an entrepreneur, Maxwell covers a lot of ground: composer, arranger, engineer, recording artist, performer, salesman.  But for him, in the end, it’s still all about love:
“My calling in life, my mission, is to assist in the uplifting of the spirit of humankind with the music that flows through me.  And the saxophone is the perfect instrument for that – everybody loves the sax and the sax loves everybody.”

We couldn’t agree more.

To contact Mark Maxwell:

And from Mark:

“Music has always been strong in me, and saxophone has always felt just right in my hands. I’ve always been surrounded by music and musical instruments, and it’s always been natural for me to pick something up and play it.

Although guitar was my first instrument, I started playing the saxophone when I was 9, back in the fifth grade band in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I played all through school – marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, show bands, all kinds of bands.  I even spent several years playing in the Army band.

I’ve always played lots of different instruments – guitar, drums, piano, flute – but sax has always been the easiest and the most fun for me.  I think its because I’ve got sax in my blood – my Mom played the sax when she was young, my older sister played sax in school, and my younger brother, Phil, is a professional saxophonist.

I’ve lived in L.A. most of my adult life, recording music and playing in bands. But my life changed back in 1994 when, at the urging of a friend, I recorded some of my original music and tried selling it at a street fair in Tucson.  To my great surprise and delight, it sold like crazy!

For the past 15 years, I’ve been recording my music and selling my CDs at street fairs and art shows all over the country.  And I’ve done remarkably well – I’ve sold over 500,000 of my 18 CDs.  I’m especially proud of how my music has helped people feel good.  How do I know?  They tell me again and again.

I’ve had the great pleasure to have performed and recorded with many amazing players, people like Garth Webber (Miles Davis, Robben Ford, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt), Tony Lufrano (Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal, Todd Rundgren), Steve Weingart (Chaka Khan, Eric Marienthal, Ernie Watts, Warren Hill, John Pattituci, Dave Weckl), Red Young (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sonny & Cher, Dolly Parton, Eric Burdon), Mike Valerio (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Craig Woods (Ray Charles, Brian Seltzer) and many others.

I even performed the National Anthem at the Laker game not once, but twice (a huge thrill for me, because I’m a huge Laker fan).

I’m really lucky because it’s my job in life to be a saxophonist, composer, and performer. I get to make music that helps people feel good.

I’m a strong believer in the power to the saxophone to heal. People just feel better when they hear it.

It is my sincere hope that my music uplifts you, relaxes you, romances you, enlightens you, enlivens you, and otherwise just makes you feel good.

Go listen, and enjoy!”