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Published on Sep 26, 2013
Bass clarinetist, composer, and arranger Todd Marcus is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus exclusively on use of the bass clarinet as a primary instrument in jazz.
While use of bass clarinet in jazz typically leans heavily towards avant-garde and free-jazz styles, Marcus' 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.
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, Gary Thomas, Xavier Davis, George Colligan, Orrin Evans, Sean Jones, and Joel Frahm.
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.