Inspired by recent travels in India, Mark formed the Mark Stone Trio. While the trio’s format is the traditional Carnatic arrangement of a soloist with percussion and violin accompaniment, the music itself draws on Mark's wide-ranging compositional influences, stretching from American jazz to African mbira/marimba music, to European concert music. In the group Mark plays gyil and many types of mbiras including the new American made array mbira, the traditional Ugandan endongo, the ancient South African mbira nyunga nyunga, as well as the modern kalimba and karimba.
Mark's original compositions and arrangements for the trio combine his gyil and mbiras with violin and tabla/frame drums to create an exciting new sound. He is joined in the group by violinist Alan Grubner and percussionist Dan Piccolo, who both freely cross musical boundaries with their dynamic playing. Alan and Dan are exceptional improvisers, bringing a wide-range of performance experience to the ensemble. Alan Grubner’s dynamic violin playing is grounded in a deep knowledge of jazz, latin, newgrass and classical traditions. He incorporates signature percussion techniques on the violin and improvises with sensitivity and passion. Dan Piccolo is currently a doctoral student in percussion at the University of Michigan, where he also directs the World Percussion Ensemble. Since 2005, he has travelled regularly to Varanasi, India to study tabla as a disciple of Pandit Kuber Nath Mishra. In the trio, Dan plays with a rich musical vocabulary of Indian classical music and American jazz, performing on tabla, frame drums, and a multi-percussion set.