Marvin Sewell was born and raised in Chicago. He learned how to play the guitar by hanging out with many Chicago basement bands. At that time, Marvin was exposed to a variety of styles of music such as: Blues, Gospel, and Soul. Rock, and Fusion. At the same time, he played in a Catholic church in a guitar band playing acoustic guitar. A few years later he became interested in Jazz. In high school, he started playing with the Malcolm X Community College Big Band. From there he started playing with many famous local Chicago musicians such as Von Freeman, Ramsey Lewis, Billy Branch, Jody Christian, Big Time Sarah, and Barbara La Shore, He attended Roosevelt University in Chicago where he studied Composition.
Marvin moved to New York in 1990. His very first tour in New York was with an Algerian Pop music band. Since in New York, Marvin has played with various bands of different styles of music, ranging from acoustic to electric music. In 1992, Marvin made his first major Jazz band when he began working with Jack Dejohnette’s Special Edition. At that same time, he was playing with Jazz cellist Diedre Murray and Jazz Bassist Fred Hopkins. The following year he recorded albums with Jack Dejohnette, Diedre Murray, and Gary Thomas. That same year he played in Hannibal Peterson’s composition African Portraits, an opera in which he played blues slide guitar in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony, New Music Symphony, and the Westchester Symphony Orchestra. Marvin has performed and recorded with David Sandborn, Marcus Miller, Jorge Sylvester, Greg Osby, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Sekou Sanidiata, Peter Herborn, and a host of many other esteemed musicians.
In 1995, he began playing with Cassandra Wilson with whom he played a variety of string instruments for six years. On Cassandra Wilson’s CD, Traveling Miles, Marvin co wrote the song, Right Here, Right Now with Cassandra. Before leaving Cassandra Wilson, he was the music director of her band for a little over a year. In the summer of 2001, Marvin went on tour with Sekou Sandiata along with Ani Difranco. While out on tour, Marvin got a chance to share the stage with Ani Difranco.
In 2002, Marvin did a tour of eastern Africa with the Newsome, Sewell, and Harris Trio. The group performed in Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius Today, Marvin spends most of his time writing music for his own band, The Marvin Sewell Group.