Not many will ever be able to say that they have played with the likes of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, R&B singer and soul goddess Tina Turner, Ethiopian Jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke, Afro-Futurists from Sun Ra Arkestra and UK Grime legend Dizzee Rascal. British bass player Ben Marc is one of those rare talents who can.
His mastery saw him being successful as a session or touring musician, as well as a renowned producer. Now it’s time for himself to step into the limelight, releasing a superb solo album. With his equally classical as jazzy approach to bass playing, Ben Marc finally fills the void that Charles Mingus left behind while adding electronics to the mix. His album, which came out earlier this year, is a dazzling product of a musician on the height of his creativity and with a musical baggage not many will be able to carry with them.
We hear free jazz, hypnotic repetition, echoes of psychedelic soul, tiny tinges of broken beat, head nods to Alice Coltrane’s spirituality and whatnot. It’s a visceral expression of what Ben Marc experiences as a vast void in the music business. “There’s a glass ceiling in most of the areas I’ve been working in: making it in classical music; the lack of Black producers at the top in electronic music,” Marc explains. “There’s so many different sides to being a Black musician in London. Evan Parker is a massive influence for me one minute and the next it’s Common, and then Mount Kimbie.” Hence the title of his album: Glass Effect, referring to this limited perception of black musicians as being only of one genre.
If we know one thing, it’s that Ben Marc is clearly ready to smash through the glass ceiling and open numerous doors for many black musicians and producers to follow. It’s an important booking for us, and a just as interesting live act never before seen in the Netherlands.
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