MARC CARY / “Marc Cary Mixtape”
I love jazz. That’s an understatement. I live jazz. I’m a writer, when I’m really writing, music is usually playing and it’s usually jazz, could range from Duke Ellington to Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago to José James concerts I have ripped from internet broadcasts. As for the Coltrane/Miles debate—I’m a Coltrane freak. I’ve got over a hundred Coltrane CDs, easily.
But I harbor a deep and dreaded truth: I don’t listen to much recent jazz. Since the nineties not much jazz holds my attention for repeated listenings. Not even new material from Charles Lloyd, Sonny Rollins, McCoy, Pharoah Sanders, David Murray, Ahmad Jamal. Not for repeated listening.
All of the preceding is my way of emphasizing just how impressed I am with Marc Cary’s trio work, especially these two live recordings. In complete counter-distinction to radio oriented jazz, this is jagged jazz. Tough. Iconoclastic. Exploratory, uncompromising, flat-out play your ass off and don’t stop until you drop.
Other musicians sample songs all the time. Marc Cary samples Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and yes, it’s jazz. Spoken word is big but Cary instead of talking about what he ate, what he drives or how curvaceous is the person with whom he sleeps, Mr. Cary recites poetry by Langston Hughes to open some of his sets.
And he is not simply an adventurous jack of a many genres, my man is also a master. He served important stints with vocalists Abbey Lincoln and Betty Carter. He’s worked with Me’Shell N’degeocello, Erykah Badu and did production work for Q-Tip on The Renaissance album that earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Rap album. He has produced an album of electronic music and is a band member of Stefon Harris’ genre smashing Blackout ensemble.
In these pair of live recordings you can hear traces of all of the above and more. But what gets to me is not all the references, rather I’m knocked out by the freshness and the fierceness of the music. And no matter how new it be, there always seems to be a handy handle to latch you can on to as you enjoy the musical ride. It could be the locked in the pocket groove on one tune, the tuneful melody of another song, the whiplash of collective improvisation at finger-busting tempos, or just the raw excitement of following the twists and turns of a fleet-fingered solo.
Cary is invigorating the classic piano trio format. One listen and it obvious he has digested decades of piano trio music and what’s really exciting is that there is nothing retro or nostalgic about Cary’s music. He’s got old roots but he’s bringing new fruit.
My job with this write up is simply to get as many people as possible to listen to Marc Cary. There are a handful of young pianists whom I admire: Jason Moran pre-eminent among them but also Robert Mitchell, Robert Glasper, and Danilo Perez. But none of them has put out a recording that holds my attention the way these two Marc Cary discs grab me and arouse my musical libido.
Yes, some moments feel like sex. Marc Cary’s music is just that good.
—Kalamu ya Salaam
Marc Cary Mixtape Playlist
01 “Dream Deferred”
05 “Dogon Warrior”
06 “Through the Fire”
07 “Round Midnight”
10 “Runnin' Out of Time”
11 “Slow Blues for MLK”
12 “Minor March”
13 “CD Changer”
This entry was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 1:37 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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