Todd Marcus brings his bass clarinet and his quintet to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Saturday February 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. for an evening of straight ahead jazz standards and Middle Eastern influenced originals. Admission is $25 in advance and $28 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org and reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.
Todd Marcus is a Baltimore based composer and arranger and one of the few bass clarinetists to use his instrument as the lead in a straight-ahead jazz ensemble. The Quintet features Marcus’ emphasis rich harmonic approach to jazz and his ability to present the bass clarinet as a hard-blowing front line solo instrument, a jazz horn equal to saxophone and trumpet.
The Quintet plays Marcus’ arrangements of standards and his own compositions that swing with fiery, introspective intensity. Their music offers a strong lyrical sensibility, and often incorporates the Middle Eastern influences of Marcus’ Egyptian-American heritage.
Based in Baltimore, MD, Marcus made the switch from clarinet to bass clarinet in 1997 shortly after hearing the work of jazz legend Eric Dolphy on the instrument. “I felt it offered a lot more options than regular clarinet,” Marcus explains. “It hasn’t been easy because of challenges the bass clarinet presents on a sonic and mechanical level but I’ve worked to present the horn as an equal to saxophones in a straight-ahead playing context. With so few examples of people playing bass clarinet in modern jazz though, I think it’s ended up being an opportunity for me to chart some new territory for the instrument.”
Self-taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus’ compositions draw largely on straight-ahead jazz and classical influences but over recent years have increasingly explored Middle-Eastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage.
His work includes international performances, clinics, and radio play. He was a featured guest in 2005 at the World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland and more recently in Egypt at the 2015 Cairo Jazz Festival.
Marcus balances his music career by running Intersection of Change – a nonprofit addressing poverty related issues in his Baltimore neighborhood. The organization runs an art program providing children and adults with alternatives to drugs and violence, a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction and homelessness, and has achieved significant community revitalization by renovating abandoned buildings and vacant lots.
“My adult life has really been about being a part of and serving my community by day and cultivating my music by night,” Marcus shares. “I think I’ve always felt upset by the injustice of inequities in the world and so being a part of my community has allowed me to specifically deal with ongoing issues that stem from systemic racism and poverty. And at the same time, my music has allowed me to try to create some beauty that hopefully unites people across all races through the power of music.”
The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.
The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.
The Mainstay now sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats, a Washington based firm. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can still make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133.
Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
Feb. 27 Mainstay Monday: Host Joe Holt welcomes Nevin Dawson on viola
March 6 Mainstay Monday: Host Joe Holt welcomes Barbara Ferris on vocals and Bob Colligan on bass
March 9 Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers
March 13 Mainstay Monday: Host Joe Holt welcomes Marc Dykeman on guitar and vocals and Mike Buccino on bass
March 15 Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars