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Todd Marcus

Bass clarinetist, composer, and bandleader Todd Marcus is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus exclusively on the bass clarinet as a solo instrument.

While use of bass clarinet in jazz typically tends to lean heavily towards avant-garde and free-jazz styles, Marcus’ playing presents the instrument with a modern straight-ahead jazz approach. His music swings hard with both fiery and introspective intensity but also maintains a strong lyrical sensibility.

Based in Baltimore, MD, Marcus actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quartet, Trio, and Duo as well as his nonet - The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra which features his compositions and arrangements for six horns, piano, bass, and drums.

Self taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus’ compositions draw largely on straight-ahead jazz and classical influences but over recent years have also increasingly explored the Middle-Eastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage. His work includes international performances, clinics, and radio play and he has worked with other jazz artists such as Bennie Maupin, Don Byron, Larry Willis, Ralph Peterson, Odean Pope, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, George Colligan, Orrin Evans, Joel Frahm, Xavier Davis, Mike Formanek, and Gary Thomas.

Marcus was also a featured guest at the 1st World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland where his work was recognized for both his compositions and unique solo voice.

Marcus balances his music career by running Newborn Holistic Ministries, a nonprofit addressing poverty related issues in his Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood. The organization runs an art program providing children and adults with alternatives to drugs and violence in the community, a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction and homelessness, and has achieved significant community revitalization by renovating abandoned buildings and vacant lots.


2014 Baker Artist Award winner


“Mr. Marcus is probably the most inventive bass clarinetist working in straight-ahead jazz today…[and] lives in Baltimore, where he is a guiding light on the city’s jazz scene who doubles as an activist and organizer.” —- New York Times, August 2017 "This is music that is smart, heartfelt and alive with ardent conviction." —- The New York City Jazz Record, January 2016 "Marcus...is clearly what the jazz polls call a "rising star" - as a composer-arranger and as a bass clarinetist. In Marcus' hands, the bass clarinet is no longer a specialty instrument. Its unique timbral richness becomes incisive, fully capable of forceful expression." JazzTimes, August 2015  "Baltimore-based Todd Marcus, the virtuoso bass clarinetist and composer, is a master of straight-ahead jazz.” Baltimore Sun, January 2014 Voted a Rising Star in the 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013 Annual Critics Poll for “clarinet” and “miscellaneous instrument” categories. Downbeat Magazine
Primary Instrument

Clarinet, bass



Willing to teach

Advanced only


addition to feature performances, the Todd Marcus ensembles are all also available for clinics, workshops, and masterclasses. These education programs can be tailored for children or adults and both musicians and nonmusicians alike. These sessions are designed to expose participants to jazz and cultivate understanding and appreciation for the music. Todd Marcus education projects can be offered as one-time sessions or as a series of sequential events or residencies. Common topics featured include how to listen to jazz, coaching on ensemble and solo performing and improvisation, incorporation of different styles of music, and discussion of how to pursue a career as a professional jazz musician.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Look for the Light

Self Produced



Stricker Street Records


On These Streets

Stricker Street Records





Blues for Tahrir

HiPNOTIC Records



CD Baby


Cinque + Narration 2 (Part 1)

From: Cinque
By Todd Marcus

The Adventures of Kang and Kodos

From: Inheritance
By Todd Marcus


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