Home » Jazz Musicians » Marc Cary

Marc Cary

Marc Cary stands on an unshakable reputation as pianist dedicated to the craft. His fresh styling shows his expansive vocabulary. Cary's earnest orientation towards jazz, where much of his musical foundation lies, proves that he has internalized the idiom. Take his seminal masterwork, Rhodes Ahead Vol 1., released in 2000, is considered by many to be a classic; the Fender Rhodes-laden record signifies 70s free jazz, where the electric piano was oft-times the sonic weapon of choice.

This time around, Cary is going retro and returning to a full acoustic setting. With the FOCUS Trio, featuring Samir Gupta on tabla and drums and David Ewell on bass, Cary's current vision is to bring together East Indian, West African and Native America musical traditions together in an all acoustic setting and blending it into African-American musical culture: jazz. "Jazz is the rhythmic approach I'm coming from with FOCUS Trio," explains Cary. FOCUS Trio will release Focus on Motema on June 27.

Cary has had a penchant for cross-cultural musical fertilization. He has fronted several ensembles, each one different musical directions. Indigenous People, which mixes acoustic, electric and is heavily percussive, is an group that Cary constructed in 1998 and he refers to it as the blueprint of his signature sound. Indigenous People recorded a live album in Brazil in 1999 which was positively received. Cary also leads the XR Project (Crossroads Project) which he explains as an extension of Indigenous People but with more of an underground and hip hop flavor. Crossing over additional musical territories, Cary produces house music and electronica under the handle, Marco Polo and has recently worked with Louie Vega.

Cary has been an architect of the zeitgeist that championed the organic, acoustic sound during the late 80s, early 90s. He was part of the Young Loins collective that included trumpeter Roy Hargrove, on which Cary was part of the personnel on albums like The Vibe and Hardgroove, staples in Hargrove's catalog. Cary's own discography list solo records such as 1995's Cary On, 1997's Listen and 1998's The Antidote, have been each received with critical acclaim.

Cary foray into music began with playing drums and trumpet. As a youth in Washington, D.C. he paid dues as a member of the Hi Integrity Band and Show, one of the many Go-Go bands that defined the D.C. musical scene. 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.

Read more


Album Review
Catching Up With
Read more articles
Matthew Whitaker
organ, Hammond B3



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

New Beginnings

Cellar Records


Cool Water

Whaling City Sound


Dressed in a Song

JWAL Records


Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2

Motéma Music


For the Love of Abbey

Motéma Music


Four Directions

Motéma Music


For Moseka

From: For the Love of Abbey
By Marc Cary


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.