Mark-Almond

Jon Mark and Johnny Almond made a name for themselves in the thriving British blues and rock scenes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mark had collaborated with Mick Jagger on the early pop albums of Marianne Faithfull, for whom he had been a band member.

Both Mark and Almond had been members of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and were key contributors on two of Mayall's biggest albums: Turning Point and Empty Rooms. They left Mayall in 1970 to form Mark-Almond, which became the Mark Almond Band. As one of the first bands to effectively merge rock with jazz, blues, and world beat rhythms, they were several years ahead of acts like Santana and Steely Dan when it came to creating music with such a wide range of styles.

Mark, with his smoky jazz cafe vocal style reminiscent of jazz great Chet Baker, made it difficult for the band to cross over into the FM radio market that the aforementioned contemporaries so effectively embraced. Still, they were able to build a sizable and very cult audience for the five or so years they were together.

After the group's initial success between 1971 and 1973, they disbanded. Mark was in an accident and lost a finger, but he still returned in 1975 with a solo album entitled Songs for a Friend. Mark-Almond reunited in 1976 and continued to write, record and tour for several more years before finally disbanding in the early '80s. They did briefly reunite in the mid '90s to release two albums, but Almond moved to the Bay Area and Mark established himself as a New Age artist in New Zealand.

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