Mark Hummel is a road warrior - a true Blues Survivor. Along the way, he has crafted his own trademark harmonica sound - a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack combined with a strong sense of swing.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Los Angeles, California, Mark absorbed the music of such Chicago based harp blowers as Little Walter, James Cotton, and Sonny Boy Williamson, before settling in Berkeley, California in 1972. There he played with local bluesmen such as Cool Papa, Boogie Jake, Mississippi Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane. In 1980, he took the helm to lead the popular Blues Survivors Band.
In 1985, the Blues Survivors released Playing in Your Town, on Rockinitus Records, and immediately went out on the road. Earning their name, they toured virtually non-stop throughout the United States, Canada and Europe playing alongside such blues greats as Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee, Lowell Fulson and Eddie Taylor.
While on tour with his band in 1988, Mark was introduced to Canadian guitarist and vocalist Sue Foley. After several tours that year, Mark and Sue released Up & Jumpin', which also features piano legend Charles Brown. Eager to revive the Blues Survivors, though, Mark hit the road again in 1990, before releasing Hard Lovin' in 1992 on Double Trouble Records. He has been on the road constantly since then, stopping only to record Feel Like Rockin' in 1994 and Married to the Blues in 1995 on Flying Fish Records. He has performed at numerous festivals across the country, including the San Francisco Blues Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and has performed and judged at the Hohner Harmonica World Championship, held in Germany.
For Heart of Chicago, Mark's sixth release and first on Tone-Cool, Mark traveled to the Windy City to record with some of the city's most legendary players and pay tribute to his Chicago blues influences. Featuring former Muddy Waters sidemen Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bob Stroger on drums and bass, guitarist Dave Myers from Little Walter's band, and others. In 1998 Mark released Lowdown To Uptown,his 7th cd, a mix of Chicago blues & uptown jazz. This cd featues great guests such as Jr. Watson, Mike Welch, Brenda Boykin & the last piano recording of the late, great Charles Brown. Mark's most current cd is called "Golden State Blues" on the Electro Fi label. It's recorded with his touring band, the Blues Survivors, plus special guests such as Rusty Zinn, Anson Funderburgh & Steve Lucky.
Since 1991 Mark has been both producing & performing at his annual Blues Harmonica Blowout series. These shows have grown to be a much heralded event & continue to draw sellout crowds wherever they appear. The list of participents is a who's who of Blues harp history, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Norton Buffalo, Kim Wilson, Huey Lewis, Carey Bell, Billy Boy Arnold, Rod Piazza, Rick Estrin, Paul Delay, Snooky Pryor, James Harman, Gary Primich, Sam Myers, in just the last three years of this 11 year event.
"Mark Hummel is a harmonica virtuoso. Quite simply, he is one of a handful of the best players ever on the instrument, and he gets better with each new release."
- Blues Revue
"Hummel and his swinging brand of blues are a match made in heaven"
- Living Blues
"... is, in just about everyone's estimation, one of the top 3 to 5 living harp blowers"
- West Coast Blues Revue
"Mark Hummel is simply one of the best harmonica players working today, the rhythm section’s kickin’ and Charles Wheal’s guitar pickin’ is a special delight."
- Huey Lewis