Marc Cary Focus Trio - in association with JazzFM
Chris Phillips – JazzFM – presents critically acclaimed Washington DC based pianist’s trio for this very special show.
“Cary shows how creatively he can stretch cool piano-jazz swingers over complex and cutting-edge rhythms, producing music that sounds old and new at once” The Guardian (4/5 review for “Four Directions”).
"Marc is a great musician! He's deep in the tradition but at the same time always forward thinking! He's always who he is not what people want him to be..." Robert Glasper
Jazz pianist, keyboardist, producer and composer Marc Cary holds tight to his roots in Washington, D.C.’s go-go music scene, but they represent only one more element to fuse with the many other musical forms he explores. Cary’s interests run from Indian classical to Malian music to hip-hop. He started his career working with Betty Carter, a legendary vocalist famous for drawing soul and sincerity out of her bands, and went on to work with Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Erykah Badu, Shirley Horn, Stefon Harris, Q-Tip and – most influential of all – Abbey Lincoln.
Cary’s latest album, For the Love of Abbey, is his first solo piano record and possibly his most intimate. Covering 10 of Lincoln’s songs, and offering three original tunes in tribute to her, Cary conjures a shimmering, timeless aura that bespeaks the spiritual and artistic lessons that the late singer conferred upon him.
Critics agree that Cary has achieved a remarkable balance. JazzTimes calls the album “a moving love letter to one of his mentors,” and says “For the Love of Abbey shimmers and soars.” CriticalJazz.com gave the record five stars, arguing that it “successfully transform[s] the work of his friend and mentor into a personal statement with deep spiritual and emotional content.”
Cary developed a new jazz trio with an intimate rapport by the mid-2000s. He called it the Focus Trio, and it featured David Ewell on bass and Samir Gupta on drums and tablas. With this group Cary found a new way to juxtapose his improvisational calmness and equipoise with a pulsing urgency and a sense of searching.
He has kept that curiosity and quest for peace at the forefront of his work with the trio, which released exploratory live albums in 2008 and 2009. And the same spirit has permeated his other projects, from For the Love of Abbey to Cosmic Indigenous. The latest incarnation of the Indigenous People ensemble, Cosmic Indigenous blends Indian classical, go-go and Malian music to form an infectious, danceable, electronically throbbing whole. As a sideman, Cary continues to tour with Stefon Harris, Cindy Blackman, Will Calhoun and other preeminent jazz musicians.