Lightsey is a gifted modern Jazz pianist who began working in Jazz in the mid-50s, largely accompanying vocalists, first in New York and then, in the early 60s, on the west coast. He recorded with the great bebop saxophonist Sonny Stitt in 1965, and began an association with the subtle west coast singer/trumpeter Chet Baker, that resulted in five fine album recordings. At the beginning of the 80s, his career received a boost when he joined the popular saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s band for four years.
Mark Whitfield graduated from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, the world’s foremost institution for the study of Jazz and modern American music in the spring of 1987. Shortly thereafter, he returned to his to his native New York to embark on a career as a Jazz Guitarist that afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with legendary artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Carmen McRae, Gladys Knight, Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry, Shirley Horn, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Joe Williams, Stanley Turrentine and his greatest teacher and mentor George Benson.
In 1990 the New York Times dubbed Whitfield “The Best Young Guitarist in the Business”. Later that year, Warner Bros. released his debut album “The Marksman”. The success of his debut release led to a recording career that has produced a total of 14 solo recordings and a myriad of collaborative efforts with some of the most important artists in recent years; Sting, Steven Tyler, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, John Mayer, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, Diana Krall, Christian McBride, Chris Botti, Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton.