Duology + 2 Cafe OtoLondonNovember, 13, 2009
The opening night of the London Jazz Festival provided a rare opportunity to hear clarinetist Michael Marcus and trumpeter Ted Daniel--two seasoned, but unsung denizens of the New York scene--in the intimate surroundings of Dalston's Cafe Oto.
Marcus made his debut with the blues bands of Albert King and Bobby “Blue" Bland, before becoming a prominent figure in the free jazz scene from the 1980s onward with the likes of Sonny Simmons, Frank Lowe, Jemeel Moondoc and Denis Charles. Probably his most high profile gig is ...read more
Improvisers who concentrate on the clarinet are a select bunch, perhaps something to do with the difficulty of navigating its tricky three registers--a far cry from the early days of jazz when the clarinet's cry was integral to Dixieland and swing ensembles. Multi-instrumentalist Michael Marcus has only lately joined that coterie lost in the licorice stick's possibilities, saying in a 2007 interview , I find it easier now to fulfill some of my thoughts with the clarinet, through musical articulations during improvisation, than I ever did with the members of the saxophone family." Best known for his long-standing association with ...read more
Michael MarcusLotus SymphonyNot Two2008 The CosmosamaticsFree Within The LawNot Two2008 DuologyGolden AtomsSoul Note2008 Saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Marcus further establishes his versatility with these three recent releases. In various instrumental configurations and featuring long-time collaborators, these are diverse discs where craft and commitment merge to create thought-provoking and soulful listening experiences. Lotus Symphony finds Marcus in the company of several groups based on ...read more
A criminally under-sung multi-instrumentalist, Michael Marcus' collaborations with Ted Daniel, Frank Lowe, and Sonny Simmons over the past two decades have yielded some of the most enduring and adventurous sounds in modern jazz. A soulful stylist on soprano, alto, and baritone saxophone, Marcus is also an advocate of the more esoteric members of the saxophone family, such as the manzello, stritch, and saxello (all originally popularized by Rahsaan Roland Kirk).
Lately however, Marcus has abandoned doubling in order to focus solely on the clarinet, recording with it exclusively for the first time on The Magic Door (Not Two, ...read more
Michael Marcus is a multi-instrumentalist who has shown mettle on the manzello, the stritch, the saxello, as well as the alto, baritone and soprano saxophones and the clarinet. He has recently been gravitating towards the clarinet and has played solely on the Bb clarinet on Golden Atoms (Soul Note, 2008) and here on Lotus Symphony.
The high mark of this release is the way in which Marcus balances improvisation and composition. This is done through a shifting line-up which gives each tune a character of its own. Marcus' vision directs each path, showing that he is more than ...read more
Michael Marcus (Bb clarinet) and Ted Daniel (trumpet) have long been distinctive improvisers. Both have made a mark not only on the free jazz scene, but also with mainstream bands. Whatever the setting, they have found the space to add their own impulses to enrich the music. And so, of the many duos that have popped up in the world of jazz, this one makes a marked impression. Marcus and Daniel create intuitive nuggets as they play a dozen tunes that turn on the excitement with their arch melodic presence, the continuum of invention that spins on the wheels of ...read more
Philadelphia performance artist Skip" Homer Jackson recently asked my opinion about a number of jazz artists who have been overlooked because they were great stylists who played in the shadows of great players. I immediately thought of Booker Ervin in relationship to John Coltrane; and Booker Little, who ironically was little (no pun intended) appreciated during the 1960's era of stellar jazz hornmen. In the back of my mind too, was the multi-instrumentalist/band leader and composer Michael Marcus.
The following interview should, in a colorful and informative fashion, fill in the blanks for those who may casually know of him. ...read more