Bass clarinetist, composer, and bandleader Todd Marcus is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus their work primarily on the bass clarinet.
Though use of bass clarinet in jazz typically leans heavily towards avant-garde and free-jazz styles, Marcus’ straight-ahead playing has carved out a unique voice for the instrument in modern jazz. His music swings hard with both a fiery and introspective intensity but also maintains a strong lyrical sensibility.
Marcus has annually been voted a "Rising Star" in Downbeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll since 2013 and The New York Times writes, “Mr. Marcus is probably the most inventive bass clarinetist working in straight-ahead jazz today. He lives in Baltimore, where he is a guiding light on the city’s jazz scene who doubles as an activist and organizer.”
Marcus actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quintet, Quartet, Trio, and Duo as well as his nine piece ensemble The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra on original compositions and jazz standards. 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 MiddleEastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage.
He has worked with other jazz artists such as Gary Bartz, Bennie Maupin, Don Byron, Larry Willis, Gary Thomas, Joel Frahm, Tim Warfield, Ralph Peterson, Warren Wolf, Sean Jones, Xavier Davis, George Colligan, and Orrin Evans.