Mark London Sims was born in San Bernardino, California. He was a straight-A student who also excelled in athletics. He had a keen interest in music as well, so he taught himself to play the guitar at age 11 and piano at 14. In college his love for music, and newfound passion, the bass, would outweigh his gifts for athletics and Physics. He started his own groups, The Directrix Jazz Quartet and later the Native Sun Trio (1st place Pacific Coast Jazz Festival), and played top 40 gigs to help pay his way through school. Thoroughly enveloped in writing music for his groups, he would go on to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Music Composition from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Mark then attended graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. There he found African music under the tutelage of Ghanaians Kobla and Alfred Ladzekpo in addition to his jazz studies with Charlie Haden and James Newton. Mark graduated at the top of his class winning the prestigious President's Award.
Known for his ability to adapt to various musical settings, Mark continuously works as a bassist, composer and arranger playing rock, blues, jazz, reggae/soca, gospel and African music. He has recorded and toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia with the Watts Prophets (for whom he was the Musical Director), Don Cherry, Stevie Wonder, Ralph McDonald, Dave Wakeling, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Robert Greenidge, Ben Harper, The Mighty Sparrow, Nels Cline, L. Shankar, Joe Higgs, Rocky Dawuni and The Untouchables.
As well as appearing on over 50 recordings, Mark 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.
Mark is happy to share his knowledge with others. He has conducted several jazz and African music artist-in-residence workshops at University of Wisconsin, Platteville, University of Nebraska, University of Nevada, Reno, and Mississippi Valley State University to name a few. He has also held his 'Art of Sound Composition' workshop at the UCLA/Hammer museum as well as in South Central Los Angeles. He currently teaches piano, bass, guitar and drums at the
Burbank Music Academy.
"Love Music: Music Theory as Poetry" was recently published. It has over 70 poems by Mark London Sims including two of his award-winning poems, 'Return to She' and 'Up and Down'.