On These Streets (a Baltimore story)
Since 1997 Marcus has lived a double life as a community activist and leader of the west Baltimore nonprofit Intersection of Change, while also carving out a career as one of the world’s preeminent jazz bass clarinetists. His album On These Streets offers a musical portrait of his neighborhood of 20 plus years which was thrust into the national spotlight in 2015 due to the civil unrest following the death of fellow community resident Freddie Gray.
Self taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus’ straight-ahead playing has carved out a unique voice for the bass clarinet in modern jazz. The New York Times writes, “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.”
While the New Jersey native’s work over recent years has focused extensively on his Egyptian heritage by incorporating Middle Eastern influences in jazz, his current efforts have focused on his experiences at home in Baltimore as On These Streets seeks to portray both the challenges and strengths of his community. The record features Marcus on bass clarinet with Paul Bollenback (guitar), Warren Wolf (vibes),George Colligan (piano), Kris Funn (bass), and Eric Kennedy (drums).