Together Mark Saltman and William Knowles have recorded and released seven original jazz cds. Originally known as Soulservice, they now record as SaltmanKnowles. Together they have spent time as Artists in Residence for the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, received two grants from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities, and won the Best International Jazz Song Award in 2007 from Toronto Exclusive Magazine. Their fifth release, Return of the Composer, was in the top ten on the Jazz World Week Radio Chart. Mr. Knowles and Mr. Saltman met while attending the composition program at the University of Massachusetts, and their similar affection for the music of Billy Strayhorn, Horace Silver, Cedar Walton and Charles Mingus led to their musical relationship.
Mark Saltman, born in Bridgeport Connecticut now residing in Washington, DC holds a BA in music from Western Connecticut State University and an MA in composition from UMASS, Amherst, where he studied with musical pioneer and mentor Dr. Yusef Lateef. Over the past couple of decades, he has scored independent films, played numerous jobs on the double bass and also taught music in the public and charter school systems.
Mr. Saltman has done scores for the award winning feature length film Dante, a remake of the original inferno as well as for short films including The Hard Sale, Perchance To Dream, Bells For Her, Jedis From Dallas and currently is working on Sci-Fi trilogy episodes of Paradox.
In addition, Mr. Saltman has also written articles for the online site No Treble in a column named ‘Bottoms up’, as well as a few semi-scholarly thoughts about the relationship between music and color, more commonly known as Synaesthesia. He is interested in Oliver Sacks, martial arts, yoga and all things creative, including Mr. Robot.
William Knowles is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received a BA from Howard University (emphasis Jazz Studies) and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts. During the past twenty years Mr. Knowles has amassed credits as a Composer, Arranger, Musical Director and Pianist for many shows at regional theaters around the country, including Dallas Theater Center, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Northlight (Chicago), CenterStage (Baltimore), Indiana Repertory Theater, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where he has performed in eight different productions.
Other notable productions include Tambourines to Glory, directed by Kenny Leon at the True Colors Theatre Company, and the 2001 regional theater tour of Dinah Was. Mr. Knowles has collaborated with playwright, lyricist, and director Thomas W. Jones II on a number of projects. Their original works include: Slam, Pearl Bailey...By Request, Cool Papa’s Party, Fool In Love, Ladies Swing The Blues, Billie’s Song, Blackberry Daze, and Shake Loose. “At this point we’ve created a number of worlds together. We can think and solve problems in the language of our own body of work. We understand each other’s rhythms,” Mr. Knowles recently commented in an interview. The Knowles/Jones collaboration has yielded a Helen Hayes Award for musical direction 2010 for Knowles (MetroStage), and Helen Hayes musical direction nominations for Gee’s Bend (MetroStage, 2014) and for Slam (Studio Theatre, 2000).
When not traveling the country, Mr. Knowles can be seen at one of the many jazz clubs in Washington, DC, where he is a sought-after musician and has played hundreds, if not thousands, of one-nighters. Russ Bickerstaff of Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express described him as “that quiet, charismatic guy at the piano....there’s a subtle flourish to Knowles’ technique that’s a lot of fun to watch.”