Welcome to the continuing journey of Michael Marcus, skilled multi-reed player/composer who is assembling an impressive body of recorded work. He is one of a handful of saxophonists that has recorded with every principal member of the saxophone family, from the sopranino to the bass saxophone. Michael's fifth CD for Justin Time 'Sunwheels' (March 2001), is a continuum in the organ tradition. Special guests, legendary Cuban percussionists "Patato" Valdez, at spiritual fire and soul to this original band. The recording has all Marcus originals. His project "In The Center Of it All", the first recording of this organ trio, released in 1999, features Rahn Burton on Hammond B-3 and Nasheet Waits on drums. For his second and third Justin Time recordings, 'This Happening' and 'Involution', Marcus selected a performance companion who worked and recorded with everyone from Earn Hines to Earl Bostic to, well, you fill the name – Eric Dolphy, Ray Nance, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Mingus, Maynard, Duke and many others. 'Jaki is the history of jazz man', Marcus says. Indeed, if jazz had an official laureate, it should be given to Jaki Byard. This team-up worked so well that they took the show on the road. Together, Michael and Jaki performed several dates in the States and Canada, notably the Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals, Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival, the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Byard's passing in early 1999 put an abrupt end to this musical collaboration. Michael Marcus has been an active member of the New York jazz scene since 1982. In addition to leading groups of his own, he has a considerable reputation as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger lending his talents to diverse projects. He has played and recorded with the likes of Albert King, Bobby Blue Bland, Sonny Rhodes, Sonny Simmons, Billy Higgins and Eddie Henderson. Recent associations include a three-year stint with the Makanda Ken McIntyre Ensemble, performances with the Grachan Moncur Big Band, Ted Daniel and Energy, Zane Massey and the Liberation Suite, Jemeel Moondoc & the JUS GREW Orchestra, B,J,Papa Band & Oakland legend Vince Wallace. On his debut on Justin Time, 'Reachin'', Michael is surrounded by an elite group of musicians: Steve Neil on bass, Bruce Edwards on guitar and Cindy Blackman on drums. This recording features eight Michael Marcus originals, a composition in fellowship with Cindy Blackman and another one with Steve Neil. Michael Marcus has performed at New York's Knitting Factory with his tentet. In 1993, Michael played with his quartet in 'What Is Jazz' festival; he reappeared there again in 1995 with his new quartet featuring guitarist Bruce Edwards and, according to Downbeat, 'was one of the highlights of the festival'. Since 1996, Michael has performed several times to capacity crowds as part of the Blue Note's Monday Night series. Marcus has enjoyed great success with his previous recordings, his debut Enja release 'Under The Wire', released in 1991, received excellent reviews internationally. In 1994, on the Black Saint/Soul Note label, he released 'Here At!'. A member of The Saxemble with James Carter, Frank Lowe and Cindy Blackman, Michael's discography includes a Saxemble album released in March 1996 on the Quest/Warner label, and a "live" trio recording on soul note, 2000. Michael has performed in Europe at both the Tampere and Eindhoven Jazz Festival and at the Ottawa Jazz Festival in July 1995 with Bob Cunningham on bass and Denis Charles on drums.
In June 1995, he participated in the first Roland Kirk Memorial at The Cooler, NYC, playing solo. Furthermore, Michael performed in a duo concert with Joseph Bowie at the 1996 Eddie Moore Jazz Festival in Berkeley, California. He also played with the Sonny Simmons Quartet at the Saalfelden Festival in Austria with Reggie Workman and Charles Moffett, coinciding with Sonny Simmons' new releases on the C.I.M.P. label; 'Transcendence' and 'Judgement Day' on which Michael participated. Also of note, The Michael Marcus Organ Trio (with Donald Smith on Hammond B-3 and drummer Gene Jackson) at The 1998 Texaco Jazz Festival in New York City. Mr. Marcus, one of the last individuals to receive a performance grant from the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) composed the string arrangements to his original music. These compositions were performed for the first time with a string quartet in November 1998 during a concert at the University of Memphis, as part of a Southern US tour and again in September 1999 at New York City's Museum Of Modern Art.
Since 2000, Michael has continued to be part of the cutting edge in American improvised music. He has toured Europe (festivals & clubs) with his trio with Tarus Mateen and drummers: Jay Rosen or Nasheet Waits, recording both trios for SoulNote Records. In 2002, Micheal released his first 'solo' recording 'Speakin Out' ' on Drimala Records. and in 2004, Ayler Records released a classic recording of the Michael Marcus Trio -'Ithem'- w/William Parker & Denis Charles (recorded in 1993). Michael continues his long collaboration with sax giant Sonny Simmons; together they front 'THE COSMOSAMATICS'. The group has recorded several albums (one 'live' at the Banileues Bleues festival with Andrew Cyrille) and is touring internationally and domestically to critical acclaim!