Acoustic and Electric Bassist - Marco's Corner

June 28, 2006 TOKYO, JAPAN

Hi everyone,

I've recently noticed that some of my favorite artists' websites feature a blog section. and are two excellent examples. I thought I would add a more personal touch to my website by doing the same. As always, your suggestions and comments are very welcome, so feel free to contact me anytime.

I am writing this first entry from my room at the Capitol Tokyu Hotel in Tokyo.  I've spent this past week here in Japan with Eldar and Todd Strait, playing some concerts and meeting up with the press to promote the newly released CD "Eldar: Live at the Blue Note". Sony Japan has released the CD with a slightly different artwork, which I kinda prefer, compared to the US version. I am not sure what the European version looks like... maybe it has its own different design, too? This is my third visit here in Japan, and it's been quite enjoyable so far. Musicians are treated like royalty here, and the sound guys work very hard with the performers to make sure that the sound on stage is nothing less than perfect. Playing live with two rented basses (upright and electric) has been a bit of a challenge, since the action on both instruments was much higher than I can normally handle, but with some bridge tweaking, I was able to make it work without putting myself at risk for some nasty tendonitis.

It is great to acknowledge that within the past three months I have been blessed with the opportunity to perform in three different continents (Europe, America and Asia). To me, it's definitely a dream come true, and I am thankful to Eldar and Sony for letting me be part of this journey. If you happen to be in New York City, July 5-9, please come to the Blue Note for our official CD release party. We're sharing the stage with jazz legend Randy Weston, who's also releasing his own new CD, and I am sure that we will all be having a great time.

Eldar and I will be touring the US extensively over the summer and fall, in several cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, D.C., Cleveland, Seattle, San Jose, Monterey, Oakland, Chicago, and more. Some European dates are also being booked. I hope to see some of you at the gigs, let's hang!

Even though Eldar's gig has been keeping me quite busy of late, I have resumed writing my original music, which is something I deeply love doing. My plan is to form a steady quartet (possibly, a quintet) and record it by the end of the year, if a label interest will come to fruition. Over the past couple of years, I have been really admiring several NYC-based peers of mine like Marcus Strickland, Mike Moreno, Kendrick Scott and Jonathan Kreisberg for being able to balance their major gigs with their own original projects. My goal is to follow their example, and come up with a quality original project, possibly employing some of the talented musicians I have just mentioned, since they have all shown to be not only great performers, but great composers as well. I firmly believe that composition, more so than performing, is the one tool that allows any dedicated musician to let his or her true musical self come through. And statistically, the great performers of our time are also the best composers (Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter come to mind).

That's it for now... thank you all for your support, and stay tuned for another update sometimes soon.

Peace, Marco

June 22, 2009 NEW YORK, NY

Playing trio with Dado Moroni and Alvin Queen this past weekend here in New York City was really something else! Dado and Alvin are true living masters of this art form we call Jazz, and their ability to communicate with each other on stage is unbelievable. Rightfully so, I would say, they've played music together for the past 30 years!

The house was packed at each one of the four shows we played, and the following world-famous musicians could be spotted in the audience: Cedar Walton, Bill Goodwin, Lew Tabackin, Russell Malone, Lewis Nash, Peter Washington, Don Friedman, Jed Levy, Duduka da Fonseca, Maucha Audnet, Helio Alves, Hendrick Meurkens, Mark Taylor, Elias Bailey, Rossano Sportiello, Joris Roelofs, Fabio Morgera, and the list goes on and on. Can you imagine the pressure! But it was the greatest hang ever, before and after the shows.

I'll definitely be looking forward to the next performing opportunity with Dado and Alvin. It's gonna be a treat, these guys are the real deal!


(pictured below: Dado, Alvin and Marco at the end of the last show)

August 17, 2009 NEW YORK, NY

Dear friends,
What a busy summer this one's been so far! I've been blessed with lots of quality work in three different continents, and I thought I'd fill you in on what's been happening over the past couple of months.

In mid July, I have performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with the Zulfugar Baghirov Quartet, featuring Washington DC pianist Harry Appelman, and French drummer (and fellow New Yorker) Julien Augier. The music was great and we got the star treatment, which never hurts once in a while, does it? With featured artists such as Seal, Jeff Beck, Lang Lang, Prince, Status Quo, Kool and the Gang and Antony and the Johnsons, I am not sure if Montreux can still be called a jazz festival these days, buy hey, the crowds were great, and fun was had by all!

After Montreux, I flew down to Italy to record some tracks and play a gig with drummer and composer extraordinaire Giovanni Scasciamacchia, and to teach a three day clinic in Piazza Armerina, Sicily, joining an international faculty which included Adam Nussbaum, Giovanni Mazzarino, Huw Warren, Maria Pia De Vito and several other great musicians/educators. The schedule in Piazza Armerina was grueling, since I would have to be up by 8am to teach my first class for the day, at 9:30am. After six hours of teaching bass students and ensembles, I would either play an evening concert with Adam and Giovanni, or attend one by other faculty members, and then off to a long jam session, lasting until 4am or so. By the end of the third day, I was dead tired, but it was a great experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Teaching is something I find extremely rewarding, and I was very pleased about the progress that the students made within the three days (and hopefully, so were they!).  

The night before I flew back to New York, I played a gig with the uber-talented harmonica player Giuseppe Milici, who lives in Palermo, but regularly tours worldwide. As a matter of fact, I have performed with him in New York, more often than in Italy! We may have a few more dates coming up in New York in October, around the Columbus Day celebrations, and I am very much looking forward to them. On yesterday’s gig, the line up included two more Giuseppe’s: drummer Giuseppe Madonia, and pianist Giuseppe Vasapolli, who is an incredibly gifted instrumentalist and composer, working on heading out to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles at the end of this year, to study film scoring. The quality of his writing is top notch already, and I am positive that his talent will be valued and appreciated once he gets to USC. He truly has a great career ahead as a pianist and composer, no doubt!

I've been in New York for just one week, and in a few hours I will be heading to JFK airport, yet once again! During this week I've spent here in the city, I had enough time to do some gigs and studio sessions, do my laundry, and start putting my stuff in boxes for my upcoming move from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan. After a long 14 hour flight, I will find myself in Japan tomorrow, playing 12 concerts with the Hironobu Saito New York Quartet, featuring John Davis on drums and Toshiya Shibata on keys. This is my third year in a row touring Japan with Hiro’s band, and I am sure that the upcoming tour will be no less fun than the previous two ones!

Until next time,

(Soundcheck at the Montreux Jazz Festival)