"International talent joins home-town favorites to perform jazz and soul as patrons, drink mezcal and smoke hookah pipes "(THE NEW YORKER)
"One of the most exciting and innovative prospects on the global jazz and urban scene today."- BLUESANDSOUL
(New York, NY) -- Marc Cary's "Harlem Sessions," which takes place every Thursday night at the New York City speakeasy Gin Fizz (Lenox Ave. at 125th St.), continues to gain ground in the community that the keyboardist-composer-bandleader calls home, and where he's emerging as a leader committed to the values of the Harlem Renaissance pioneers such as Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington, in the spirit of providing fresh lifeblood to Harlem's unique and vibrant cultural scene.
Cary began hosting the late night jam session in May, opening it to musicians, poets, rappers, dancers and comedians, and announcing the song menu in advance via social media, to develop an organic and crucial cutting ground for artists. It's a celebration of local artists, groups and composers who truly brought a melting pot of influences together; take a song like "Harlem River Drive" (by pianist Eddie Palmieri's super group), cultivate it, and that typifies what this session is about and how deeply its local roots grow.
Beyond honoring Harlem's pioneers, Cary's leadership engenders the exploration of ways that familiar repertoire has evolved stylistically and globally: highlighting some of the most inspirational works of titanic jazz composers and performers that have been foundational building blocks in soul, R&B and rock; celebrating essential black and American songwriters of our time whose music crossed multiple genres; illuminating the true connectors between jazz, funk and soul; and celebrating great interpreters of songs that have been foundational in the building blocks of hip hop.
Cary's longtime rhythm section features Rashaan Carter on bass and Sameer Guptaon drums/tabla. Guest artists have been as wide-ranging as poet/performance artist (and five-time winner of "It's Showtime at the Apollo") Jessica Care Moore, along with new MC phenom Amani Fela; MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer; The United Nations Youth Philharmonic Orchestra; Guadeloupean saxophone titan Jacques Schwarz-Bart; tap percussionist extraordinaire Omar Edwards, Malian vocalist Awa Sangho; 1st Annual Duke Ellington Vocal Competition winner Charles Turner, and Mike Casey (both alumni of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead); Lauryn Hill's current horn section (Igmar Thomas, Sharif Clayton, James Casey); and Harlem's own self-described 'Black Americana' singer Queen Esther.
In May, Cary performed at Harlem's Apollo Theater and DC's Kennedy Center, co-headlining a show titled "Harlem Nights/U Street Lights" with American pianist-composer Jason Moran and earning rave reviews like this from CapitolBop: "Jason Moran and Marc Cary's 'Harlem Nights/U Street Lights'...was like a dream. Over 20 musicians fit together for a seamless and immersive production that celebrated D.C. and New York's twinned roles in the development of modern Black music."
Cary will take The Harlem Sessions on the road to Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May, NJ, on November 7, 2015, with plans to tour the concept internationally into 2016