Marc Cary is an American Jazz pianist, born in New York City and grew up in Washington D.C.
Hailed by Down Beat as one of the most, “multi-dimensional keyboard players on the scene today,” whose music reveals those multi-dimensions in sensual living color, Marc Cary’s continual search for his musical identity has brought him to all corners of the earth, quenching his thirst to bring forth indigenous musics in all of their forms.
His latest offering on this journey will embark on April 13th, as Motéma Music releases their third Cary project, Focus Trio Live 2009, the follow up to his earlier live release, Focus Live 2008, which is available only digitally. Recorded live at select festivals across Europe and the US, Focus Trio Live 2009 features Cary's longstanding trio: on tabla and drums, Sameer Gupta and on bass, David Ewell, both of whom he met on the west coast. With inimitable style, Cary drives the trio towards hard-hitting turns, fusing together indigenous East Asian, Indian, African, and Native-American influences within the African-American blues and jazz traditions, as only a player with his undeniable talent can manage to do while simultaneously claiming new virtuosic territory.
The Boston Globe said of the group, “Marc Cary coming from a traditional jazz background lays the musical foundation, incorporating his Native American roots. However, Gupta and Ewell also season the sonic landscape with their Indian and Chinese roots. Gupta incorporates classical Indian rhythmic and melodic concepts. With David Ewell's bass playing you can hear tonal centers that are based around scales you may hear in traditional Chinese music. The FOCUS project is one that seeks to cross-pollinate.”
A member of the High Integrity Band and later connected with Let Um Play and the Frontline Jazz Ensemble, Cary was among the pioneers of Washington, D.C.’s infamous "GO-GO" rhythms that defined that musical scene and are continuously being referenced in hip-hop and jazz. His family carries a musical tradition: his great-grandmother played piano at local movie houses, her partner was Eubie Blake; his mother is a visual artist and father played trumpet. By 18, he found himself playing with the Dizzy Gillespie Youth Ensemble at Wolf Trap. He has earned four Grammy® nominations for his ensemble work, most recently in 2009 for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" as a participant in Stefon Harris's Blackout. His production work on Q-Tip's The Renaissance helped earn that disc a nomination for "Best Rap Album" of 2009. Cary’s seminal masterwork, Rhodes Ahead Vol 1., released in 2000 and considered by many to be a classic, earned him the first Annual Billboard/BET "Best New Jazz Artist Award." His collaborations in all musical genres across the board include work with Meshell Ndegeocello, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Arthur Taylor, Abbey Lincoln, Erykah Badu, Max Roach, Shirley Horn, Ani DiFranco, Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, among others.
Now, with Focus Trio Live 2009, Cary returns to a live acoustic setting to showcase a collection of both standards and original compositions – 11 incendiary tracks, 10 of which Cary has never recorded. “Minor March,” a Jackie McLean tune originally featured on Focus 2008, is taken to new synergistic heights here.
Cary’s series of recordings for the Motéma label began with his label debut, Focus (2006) and continued with the digital release of Focus Trio Live 2008 (digitally co-released in 2009 with Marc’s ‘Caryout Productions). In 2011 Cary will return with a studio project expected to be recorded in Summer/Fall of 2010. In addition, there are two other exciting Cary Out projects in the works: Cary Out Productions is planning a collaboration with Motéma to begin a new digital series, where Marc will release a brand new single every month on the Motéma website – each single exploring the various areas of interest in Cary’s musical journey. The first single will be a brand new GO-GO track, release date tentatively slated for August. In addition, coming this Fall, is an Indian music focused project entitled Namaskar, that is co-produced by Marc with his Focus Trio partner, Sameer Gupta, and reveals yet another facet of Marc’s multi-dimensions.
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