Mark Whitlam

Drummer, Composer & Educator

Mark Whitlam - Drummer, Composer & Educator

Versatility, creative flair and great feel have established Mark as one of the first-call players in the South West.  Putting the needs of the music first is at the centre of his approach, Mark is a passionate, authoritative and authentic performer. 

Mark has performed live and/or recorded with some of the UKs finest jazz musicians, including ECM artists Andy Sheppard and Iain Ballamy, Clare Teal, Jason Rebello (Sting, Jeff Beck), Claire Martin, Pee Wee Ellis (James Brown), Jim Mullen (Average White Band), Mike Outram, Tina May, Gareth Williams, Josh Arcoleo and cross-genre artists such as Goldfrapp's Will Gregory, Portishead's Adrian Utley and BBC Proms conductor Charles Hazlewood.

Recent work includes being called on to play for Liane Carroll's The Right To Love album launch (covering the drum chair for Ralph Salmins) with Grammy nominated producer James McMillan and Mercury Prize nominee in 2017 and this summer, a headlining festival show with Radio 2 folk award winner, Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band.

With a command of a wide range of styles and excellent reading skills, Mark has gained extensive musical theatre experience, having performed in the West End, Edinburgh Fringe, UK tours and was invited to deputise on the drum chair for the world tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. 

Live performances have taken him from Glastonbury Festival to The Royal Albert Hall, and across to Europe. His recorded work has received airplay on BBC Radio 3 (Jazz on 3, Late Junction and Jazz Requests), BBC Radio 2 (Jamie Cullum), BBC 6 Music  (Introducing...) and Jazz FM, having also recorded live broadcasts for Jez Nelson's Jazz on 3 show from Manchester Jazz Festival and The Vortex in London.  In addition, session work for publishers Boosey & Hawkes has been used for television broadcast.

A committed music educator, Mark enjoys teaching on the undergraduate degree programme at BIMM Bristol, where he is deputy head of the drum faculty. He has been invited to tutor on several summer school courses, including RhythmFest (run by Rhythm magazine) alongside Craig Blundell, Colin Woolway and BIMM colleague, James Hester.  In 2011 he was approached by Jam Track Central to compose music and record video for play-along tuition downloads. 

A self-confessed transcription nerd, Mark has recently been engaged to transcribe the drum and percussion parts for Paul Simon's latest album Stranger to Stranger, published worldwide through Music Sales Ltd. 


“Whitlam’s neatly energetic drumming … is consistently bright, inventive and responsive”    (Ian Mann,

“Andy [Sheppard]’s composed playing gave a playful tone ... a mood caught by Mark Whitlam in an exuberant drum solo that never strayed into bombast and showed how the young player had  comfortably assimilated himself into the trio”   (Tony Benjamin,


Photo:  David Lake / Manchester Jazz Festival 2013