MARK MONTS DE OCA
Mark Monts de Oca is a latin jazz pianist, producer and founding member of Calle Loiza Jazz Project. Over the past 30 years he has played mostly in Puerto Rico and the US with many of the legends and creators of the Latin Jazz genre.
Mark Monts de Oca is a Latin jazz pianist of a wide range of influences. Born in Tampa, Florida, he was exposed to gospel, Cuban, Latin jazz and mainstream jazz throughout his formative years and as a result, developed an authentic feel for both traditional jazz and afro cuban music. Stylistically he has been most influenced by pianists Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Charlie Palmieri and Papo Lucca. During the 70's he played in salsa and cuban charanga groups in Florida that performed regularly in concerts prior to headliner luminaries such as Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. During the 80's and 90's he lived in Puerto Rico and in 1991 and ‘92 had the opportunity to be mentored by legendary jazz pianist Larry Willis who was performing in Puerto Rico with Jerry Gonzalez’s group Ft. Apache.
After having the opportunity to play with jazz veterans saxophonist Hector Veneros and drummer Jimmy Rivera in their quartet, he performed weekly throughout San Juan as an established jazz pianist in the local scene there. He performed regularly on local television and in the local jazz festivals such as the Heineken Jazz Festival in 1993. During his years in Puerto Rico, he was a member of Charlie Sepulveda’s band for several years, occasionally played with Jerry Gonzalez and regularly with the Hector Veneros and Jimmy Rivera. After moving to Orlando in 2003 he performed regularly with Latin percussionist Orlando Sanchez, drummer Dimas Sanchez and well known Batacumbele bassist Eddie "GuaGua" Rivera.
He moved to Atlanta in 2010 and reunited with his friend, guitarist Andre Avelino and they performed regularly as a duo for several years there. The opportunity to reunite to create this tribute album occurred in early 2019 when Mark moved to Puerto Rico for several months.