Public Hours: SAT & SUN Noon-6pm
3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21224
If Washington, D.C. could be only one musical instrument, it would be drums. And drums play a vital role in the city’s indigenous music, best known as go-go. Often powered by an arsenal of trap drums, congas, roto-toms, and timbales, numerous go-go ensembles such as Trouble Funk, EU, Rare Essence, Mass Extinction, Little Benny and the Masters, and of course Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers created propulsive Caribbean/Afro-Latin-tinged music that singed with insistent polyrhythmic friction, energetic call-and-response banter, entrancing grooves, and indefatigable energy. That fire continues to heat up D.C. streets and neighborhoods.
Growing up in DC, and now a Baltimore resident, it’s go-go music’s enduring legacy that acclaimed pianist, keyboardist, composer, and bandleader Marc Cary proudly toasts with Blackanomics. Since its emergence in the mid’60s, the genre has withstood various other popular black-American music trends, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s, and more recently, the vicious gentrification in Washington, D.C.
Blackanomics is not just an homage to Cary’s childhood soundtrack, it’s a love letter to the culture’s community-based economy that helped nurture many young talented musicians, producers, and sound engineers. “Go-go performances kept the dollar circulating within communities for over two weeks after certain concerts. That empowered a lot of musicians to have to not leave D.C. in search of work,” Cary says.
Cary credits former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry – who served four terms (1979-1991 and 1995-1999) – for facilitating the infrastructure for go-go music and culture to flourish, particularly through Barry’s Summer Youth Employment program, his Modern Music program, and his creation of various recreational centers throughout the city. “He enabled us to travel around the city on a city-funded stage that was pulled by a truck,” Cary recalls. “We would pull up in different neighborhoods and perform. That was just part of the summer Modern Music program. Throughout the year, pretty much every five or six nights a week, you could find many go-go performances in all four quadrants in D.C.”
The Indigneous People Arkestra is supported by South Arts Jazz Roads Creative residency grant, supporting its recent residency at DC artist incubator Bloom Bar.
About Marc Cary
Marc Cary stands apart by way of pedigree and design as one of New York’s ( now Baltimore-based) highly acclaimed jazz pianists. None of his prestigious peer group ever set the groove behind the drums in Washington DC go-go bands nor are any others graduates of both Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln's daunting bandstand academies. He has shared stages and cultivated his craft with Dizzy Gillespie, Arthur Taylor, Carlos Garnett, Jackie McLean, Wynton Marsalis, and Carmen McRae. His comfort with women bandleaders also made him a favorite accompanist among other modern singers notably Ndegeocello, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Ani Di Franco.
Cary has been Grammy-nominated in both Stefon Harris's Blackout Group, and with Abbey Lincoln. He remains one of the progenitors of contemporary jazz, evident by his influence on peers. Live gigs with Stefon Harris and bandmate Casey Benjamin began the genesis of Robert Glasper’s recording Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Cary's record "Taiwa" from Focus in 2006 evolved into "For You" on Glasper's Double Booked and Harris' Urbanus. Cary collaborator Roy Hargrove exalted him with "Caryisms" on 1992's The Vibe, an album whose title track is one of two Cary originals including "Running Out of Time"--now part of the lexicon of live repertoire among jazz stalwarts Hargrove, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Igmar Thomas' Revive Big Band. As Nate Chinen observed, “There isn’t much in the modern-jazz-musician tool kit that Marc Cary hasn’t mastered, but he has a particular subspecialty in the area of groove…with a range of rhythmic strategies, from a deep-house pulse to a swinging churn. Mr. Cary richly embodies the spirit of diverse streams that feed into the ample body of what we consider jazz history today. "
Amidst the ongoing effects of COVID-19, we continue to prioritize the health and well-being of staff, artists, youth, audiences, and our community. We are committed to following Baltimore City public health guidelines as we rehire, train, and work towards a full reopening in the fall. Thank you for bearing with us!