Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra
Tickets: $15/$12 students
Todd Marcus - bass clarinet
Lyle Link - tenor
Tim Green - alto sax & flute
Russell Kirk - alto sax
Alex Norris - trumpet
Darent Polk - trombone
Alan Blackman - piano
Eric Wheeler- bass
Kush Abadey - drums
Check out this article on NPR, which selected Todd's new album as one of the top 10 jazz albums of 2012:
The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra is an emerging nonet ensemble composed of six horns, piano, bass, and drums. The ensemble is unique for being led by Marcus bass clarinet, a rarely used instrument in straight-ahead jazz. It is featured as a lead solo and ensemble horn in the ensemble rather than the more traditional roles it tends to have as a textural woodwind double or as an avant-garde capacity.
Started in 2003, the ensemble includes musicians from Baltimore, NY, and Washington, DC. In 2006 the ensemble released its debut album In Pursuit of the 9th Man on Hipnotic Records and over the years has featured guest artists including tenor saxophonists Bennie Maupin, Tim Warfield, Gary Thomas, Joel Frahm, and Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Sean Jones and pianist Orrin Evans.
The ensemble's work tends to focus on straight-ahead playing and classical influenced thematic composition. Recent works however have increasingly presented compositions by Marcus that feature the fusion of jazz with Middle-Eastern music and reflect Marcus' Egyptian-American heritage.
"[an] incredible bass clarinet player, arranger, and composer"
- The Urbanite, February 2012
"Marcus, a musical autodidact, plays the clarinet and bass clarinet (rarities in
the jazz world) with sharp ease. His tidy but sprawled-out compositions have
a similar preternatural comfort about them. As a result his swingin' punchy post-
bop often comes off both comforting & challenging." --- CapitalBop, July 2011
"...masterfully performed solos...If you need to get your blood pumping, this
[music] will fit the bill." --- Examiner.com, November 26, 2010
"Powerful, intricate jazz flowing through a bass clarinet"
--- The B Daily, February 2010
"One of the area's finest jazz musicians." --- Baltimore Times, September 2008
"...a fabulous ear and brain cleaner...Truly refreshing in a world of sameness."
--- Linda Yohn, WEMU Music Director, February 2007
"[Marcus'] bass clarinet playing has an original sound, and his arranging has a
style of his own
[The band's] energy is awesome and the ensemble has a
bright future." --- Jazz Radio 247.com, February 2007
"[T]he Baltimore-based Marcus has fashioned a career on the bass clarinet of
blending traditional bebop and swing with some world music touches that make
him deserving of wider recognition." --- Jazzreview.com, October 2005
Todd Marcus (bass clarinet) is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus exclusively on use of the bass clarinet as a primary soloing 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.
He actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quartet, Trio, and Duo as well as his nonet, The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra.
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, Larry Willis, Don Byron, Odean Pope, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Xavier Davis, George Colligan, Orrin Evans, Joel Frahm, 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.