South Carolina native Marcus Anderson is from a large musical family of seven siblings. Growing up, both of his parents sang regularly, but it was his father who introduced him to the jazz music which would come to define his life. Led by his parents' encouragement, Anderson began performing in church with his older brothers. He graduated from Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC and after graduation continued his jazz studies at North Carolina Central University, where he was a member of the program's world renowned Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. Ira Wiggins. He later studied with Branford Marsalis and gospel saxophonist Donald Hayes for several years. Anderson's numerous accolades include All-State High School Jazz Ensemble for South Carolina three consecutive years; receiving the Chancellor's Award three times; performing for Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson; being a member of the HBCU All-Star Jazz Ensemble as 1st Tenor Sax Sax for three consecutive years; and being a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America. He released his debut album My Turn in 2005.
Two years after his breakthrough in contemporary urban jazz circles as the 2009 winner of the Capital Jazz Fest Challenge, Marcus Anderson is embracing every opportunity to perform and inspire fans - and most importantly, as the title of his third and latest CD attests, fully living in the NOW. The multi-talented 26-year-old composer, saxophonist and flutist's original working title was "Transition", a nod to the powerful ongoing development of his career since Capital Jazz and his move into the top tier of contemporary jazz artists.
The new 13-track collection is driven by Anderson's trademark powerful, horn textured melodies, which he composes as if his saxes are singing like vocalists, and dynamic sensual and funky grooves. He also plays occasional flute and creates fascinating vocals on covers of Michael Jackson's "Remember The Time" and Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" using the AKAI EWI 4000 and talkbox. The saxophonist vibes on NOW with incredible young musicians like 17 year old keyboardist Nicholas Cole, bassist Julian Vaughn, vocalist Marcel Anderson and the popular Canadian electronic do Four80East (on "M-Powered"). "When I started the album,"
Anderson says, "I was thinking I was just making the transition
If his performance history is any indication, Anderson has pretty much always been in the Now. In addition to playing on the Capital Jazz Super Cruise after winning the Capital Jazz Fest Challenge, his gigs include: Blues Alley, Washington, DC; Carolina Music Theatre, Durham, NC with Ledisi; The Gardens on El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA; Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD; Jazz On The River, Fayetteville, NC; Fantasia Barrino's Christmas Party with Anthony Hamilton; Opened up for Prince with Anthony Hamilton in Charlotte, NC; Christmas with Jennifer Holiday, Carolina Theatre, Durham, NC; Black Film Fest, where he performed with Malcolm Jamal Warner; Raleigh Symphony Orchestra State Teachers Convention; Jazz Under the Stars, Nassau, Bahamas; Carolina Music Fest with Mike Phillips & Boney James; Downtown Jazz Series, Winston-Salem, NC with Four 80 East & Matt Marshak; Silver Springs Jazz Festival, opened for Wynton Marsalis; Virginia Beach Jazz Festival; and Old Pasadena Jazz Festival w/ Marcus Johnson. More recent shows include Jazz Alley in Seattle, the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival, Humphrey's in San Diego, Spaghettini in Seal Beach and the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City, Florida. He is also scheduled to play at the Big Bear Jazz Festival in June 2011.
With Anderson, it's always "All or Nothing", and he gets NOW off to a funky, high-energy start with an in the pocket groove, some dazzling alto and tenor work and the bubbling bass energy of Julian Vaughn. The old school, atmosphere rich title track "Now" has a percussive multiple sax hook and clapping groove, punctuated by Nicholas Cole's dazzling piano solo. "Back To Basics" is all late night, steamy sensuality, with Anderson's silky alto building to a more muscular dual horn approach and his riffing off Vaughn's powerful bass solo. "Feeling You" has trippy synth atmospheres backing Anderson's smoky tenor and some cool experimentation with the talkbox. "M-Powered" is one of the most unique tracks Anderson has ever done, a trippy, chill oriented mid tempo drive-time tune that blends the saxman's seductive funk with Four80East's dreamy, seductive electronica touches.
After a punchy, talk box driven twist on MJ's "Remember The Time," Anderson takes a spin from "85 to 95" with Nate Najar's elegant acoustic guitar adding to the tune's balmy tropical sweetness. Anderson pulls his flute out on the fascinating track "It's Doesn't Matter"-which blends swampy acoustic guitar with a dreamy flute melody and an exotic electronica flavor. Anderson didn't call the album "Transition," but it's still a killer track-a thumping, discofied number that blends retro beats, chill elements and high energy, swirling horn textures. Anderson gets romantic again on the soulful "Together Forever," which features vocal harmonies by Marcel Anderson reminiscent of the great gospel-jazz group Take 6. Wrapping the set are an expansive, talkbox driven whirl through "Cruisin'" and the jubiliant gospel flavored celebration "Family Bond" featuring vocalist Marcus Cole.