Our AOCFEST Artist of the Week is NYC native, jazz pianist Marc Cary. His style consists of Post-Bop, Jazz Instrument, and Piano Jazz. He is versatile within many genres of music such as Indian Classical, Malian Music and Hip-Hop. Cary has worked with legendary vocalist Betty Carter which whom he started his career with. In addition, he went on to work with many other legends such as Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Erykah Badu, Shirley Horn, Stefon Harris, Q-Tip, Wu Tang Clan, and Abbey Lincoln.
As a young child Cary grew up in Washington D.C. being introduced to the go-go music scene. This style of music consists of Funk, Hip-Hop, Afro-Caribbean drumming and traditional call-and-response. At the age of 14 Cary joined the High Integrity Band which they practiced the native D.C. art form of go-go music. He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and played in the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. One night while performing a solo of “A Night In Tunisia” he caught the ear of Dizzy Gillespie himself which the legendary trumpet player gave Marc Cary a pass to let him sit in whenever his band came to D.C.
After graduating from high school Cary attended the University of the District of Columbia for two years under renowned trombonist and educator Calvin Jones. However, he moved to New York City in 1988 after being highly encouraged by renowned pianist Walter Davis Jr. Upon his arrival to the Jazz Capital he quickly began playing in bands led by Arthur Taylor, Mickey Bass, and Betty Carter. Cary also befriended and started working with famed emcee from A Tribe Called Quest Q-Tip and other remarkable Hip-Hop musicians. In addition, he produced and played keyboards on the majority of “The Renaissance”, Q-Tips Grammy-nominated solo album.
In 1995 after having great success with his move to New York City Cary released his debut album “Carry On” which showcased his songwriting talents of original songs such as “The Vibe” and “So Gracefully”. The album also featured an all-star cast of musicians including Roy Hargrove and saxophonist Ron Blake. In 1997 he followed up with the album entitled “Listen” and 1998’s release “The Antidote”. In addition, in 1998 he also released a limited edition LP entitled “Indigenous Music”. However, in 1999 Cary released a project entitled “Rhodes Ahead: Vol.1” which showcased his interest of ambient music with his dance roots using the Fender Rhodes electric piano. This album was transforming and contributed directly to Cary winning BET’s first-ever Best New Jazz Artist award the following year.
After Cary’s award winning success he went on to release more albums and collaborating with other musicians. However, his most intimate album to date would be his 2013 release entitled “For the Love of Abbey”. This album was his first solo piano album consisting of 10 songs by Abbey Lincoln and 3 original tributes written to her. Cary states, “From Lincoln I learned the power of simplicity, focus and soul-baring musical poetry.” On this album his goal was to tap in and apply Abbey’s focus on peaceful, unadorned melody within a lush habitat of pianistic harmony. Marc Cary recently released his album “Rhodes Ahead: Vol.2” which has been praised as a “more self-assured trek to the heart of jazz-funk futurism, and a likely break through for his public profile” –Nate Chinen, New York Times
AOCFEST is excited to have Marc Cary perform this year for the AOC fans. We cannot wait to see the great performance he has planned!