A talented guitarist influenced by George Benson and versatile enough to play straight-ahead jazz or R&B, Mark Whitfield was originally a bassist. At 15 he switched to guitar and soon won a scholarship to Berklee. After graduating from Berklee in 1987, Whitfield temporarily moved to Brooklyn and appeared at many sessions. George Benson suggested he work for Jack McDuff and that association was a big break for Whitfield. He has since recorded as a leader for Warner Bros. and Verve, and as a sideman with many players including Jimmy Smith, Nicholas Payton, Ray Brown and Courtney Pine.