Born: May 21, 1954 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Marc Ribot (pronounced REE-bow) was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. As a teen, he played guitar in various garage bands while studying with his mentor, Haitian classical guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus. In 1978, Ribot crossed the river to New York City, where he served as sideman for such musicians as jazz organist Jack McDuff and legendary soul shouter Wilson Pickett. Ribot began his five-year stint as a member of the Lounge Lizards (John Lurie's innovative and influential Downtown jazz ensemble) in 1984. At the time Marc's playing, which blended elements of classic Blues guitar with the ironic No Wave/Knitting Factory aesthetic, caught the ear of a number of artists who were also interested in amalgamating and disrupting disparate musical traditions. Ribot performed on some of these singer/songwriter's finest records, including Elvis Costello's SPIKE, MIGHTY LIKE A ROSE, and KOJAK VARIETY; Marianne Faithful's BLAZING AWAY; and Tom Waits' RAIN DOGS, BIG TIME, FRANK'S WILD YEARS, MULE VARIATIONS, and REAL GONE.
All the while, the increasingly in-demand guitarist continues to explore the ever-changing terrain of New York's New Music scene, working with musicians such as Arto Lindsay, Don Byron, Anthony Coleman, T-Bone Burnett, the Jazz Passengers, Evan Lurie, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Chocolate Genius, Bill Frisell, Medeski Martin & Wood, and John Zorn in any number of incarnations.
Ribot also composed and recorded his own brand of Downtown soul music with his bands, Rootless Cosmopolitans and Shrek. In 1996 he recorded DON'T BLAME ME, which found a solo Ribot reinventing a number of American standards, which was hailed by The Village Voice as a record filled with savory and unlikely amusements. In 1998 Atlantic Records released the critically acclaimed Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos, featuring Ribot's beautifully slanted interpretations of material by the great Cuban songwriter Arsenio Rodriguez.
Recent musical scores by Marc Ribot include Yoshiko Chuma's ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT dance piece, a documentary film by Greg Feldman titled JOE SCHMOE, a feature film by director Joe Brewster titled THE KILLING ZONE, and IN AS MUCH AS LIFE IS BORROWED, a dance piece by famed Belgian choreographer, Wim Vanderkeybus.
Composer Stewart Wallace recently completed an electric guitar concerto with orchestra written for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004.
Marc continues to write and perform and collaborate. He's currently working on a new, sonically dense, rock band called the Marc Ribot Mystery Trio. He's also producing a record of material by the great Haitian composer/guitar player, Frantz Casseus, and recording with a new project called Spiritual Unity based on the works of Albert Ayler, as well as recording with artists Elvis Costello, and T-Bone Burnett.