“Mr. Marcus is probably the most inventive bass clarinetist working in straight-ahead jazz today… [and] lives in Baltimore, where he is a guiding light on the city’s jazz scene who doubles as an activist and organizer.”
– The New York Times
Though use of bass clarinet in jazz typically leans heavily towards avant-garde and free-jazz styles, Marcus’ straight-ahead playing has carved out a unique voice for the instrument in modern jazz. His music swings hard with both a fiery and introspective intensity but also maintains a strong lyrical sensibility.
Marcus has annually been voted a Rising Star in Downbeat magazine’s Annual Critics Poll since 2013 in the “clarinet” and “miscellaneous instrument” categories. The Washington Post writes, “Listeners won’t have any trouble recognizing Marcus’s compelling gifts for composing and arranging.” JazzTimes magazine adds, “In Marcus’ hands, the bass clarinet is no longer a specialty instrument. Its unique timbral richness becomes incisive, fully capable of forceful expression.”
Self-taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus draws largely on straight-ahead jazz and classical influences in his compositions, but over recent years has also increasingly explored the Middle-Eastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage. He has worked with other jazz artists such as Gary Bartz, Bennie Maupin, Don Byron, Larry Willis, Odean Pope, Gary Thomas, Joel Frahm, Tim Warfield, Ralph Peterson, Warren Wolf, Sean Jones, Xavier Davis, George Colligan, and Orrin Evans.
Marcus’ performances include national and international touring. He was a featured artist in 2017 Jazz Tales Festival in Egypt, the 2015 Cairo Jazz Festival in Egypt, and in 2005 at the 1st World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland.
Marcus balances his music career by running Intersection of Change, a nonprofit addressing poverty related issues in his Baltimore neighborhood. The organization runs a community arts program for children & adults, a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction, and an urban farm, and has achieved significant community revitalization by renovating abandoned building and vacant lots.
SUN MAY 19 | 7PM | $20, $17 MEMBERS (+$3 At the door)