Born: April 14, 1986 Primary Instrument: Bass, electric
UK-based Cai Marle-Garcia, aka 'MR. EARS', is the driving new force on the international bass scene. Adept on both fretted bass and his favoured fretless bass, the 23-year- old has experience of performing and recording jazz, funk, pop, soul, r’n’b, hip-hop, rock, latin, fusion and world music. From leading his own jazz/rock fusion group with original compositions to recording a spontaneous but highly successful and effervescent debut solo album in 2008/2009, Cai’s journey is certainly one of self-discovery as well as a quest to breathe new life into the jazz scene.
Cai’s love for jazz only started to blossom when he joined the renowned Weekend Arts College (WAC) aged 16. Under the tutelage of saxophone legend Tim Whitehead (Nucleus, The Homemade Orchestra), the weekly workshops honed Cai’s soloing, arranging and composition skills alongside many other talented young musicians. Here, he followed in the footsteps of other music luminaries associated with WAC, including Ian Carr, Julian Joseph, Mark and Michael Mondesir, Abram Wilson and Courtney Pine. Cai received four major awards from the scheme and was recognised as a promising talent.
In 2005, an enlightening trip to Australia with guitarist Ollie Haydon-Mulligan produced an album for their acid-jazz trio 'Maladaption'. The pair came back to the UK to perform their original material at venues including London’s Jazz Cafe. Cai began working on a group in the role of bandleader and composer and ‘The Mr. Ears Project’ was born. Influenced greatly by his love for the jazz/fusion super-group Weather Report, Cai recorded a demo with his three other band-members in 2006 and by 2007 the group were performing at a variety of notable venues, including the Vortex Jazz Club, Camden Town’s Green Note, The Bulls Head and the 2007 Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival.
In October 2007, Cai felt 'The Mr. Ears Project' had come to a natural conclusion and began a new journey, working with pianist Richard Fairhurst, saxophonist Russell van den Berg and drummer Martyn Kaine. After toying with the idea of forming a new group, Cai decided to arrange a spontaneous recording session. He contacted 10 vastly talented musicians, some young and some experienced (three of whom Cai met for the first time on the day of recording); three long days in August 2008 saw immense energy and musicianship combine to make a unique recording and write the first big chapter in Cai’s story.
Cai's debut album, entitled ‘Mr. Ears’ features saxophonists Tony Woods, Duncan Eagles and Rob Sell (NYJO), keyboardists Kit Downes (BBC Jazz Rising Star Award 2008, Empirical, Jim Mullen, Dennis Rollins) and Steve Kite, drummers Martyn Kaine (Natalie Williams) and Dan Paton, guitarist Sagat Guirey (John Etheridge, Mark and Mike Mondesir, Robert Mitchell), Freddie Gavita (BBC Jazz Rising Star 2008) on trumpet, and Stuart Semple (Peter Erskine) on percussion.
Cai has worked with pop-rock outfit 'Long Orange', rnb/soul singer Corrine Armstrong, guitarists Sagat Guirey and Ronnie Johnson (Van Morrison), Tim Whitehead, Tony Woods (Kenny Wheeler), Richard Fairhurst, Russell van den Berg, Martyn Kaine and many other top musicians.
With his own original compositions, Cai has a clear vision: to bring what made jazz-fusion in the 1970s and 80s so good, to the modern day. Memorable tunes that you'll end up whistling, grooves that simmer then boil over. Organic tunes that make modern jazz about melodies and 'in-the- moment' spontaneity. With his debut album 'Mr. Ears', Cai is looking to start this revival from 2009.
While there are many players that excel at mimicking my dear friend, the late great Jaco Pastorius, Cai has a certain spark of originality that will someday develop into a full-blown firestorm, of music yet to be heard. -Dann Glenn Guitarist/Composer 2009
'Mr. Ears' sounds immense. Great solos, beautiful touch and wonderfully melodic...and the writing is brilliant. - Bassist Laurence Cottle, on Cai and 'Mr. Ears'.
The Mr. Ears Project was a real band coming out of the Weather Report and Nucleus tradition with a commitment to good composing and driving exposition. - British sax legend Tim Whitehead.
You may think that the coolest thing about CAI MARLE- GARCIA must be his name but wait till you see him play bass like a man possessed. - 'F-IRE Collective' guitarist and bandleader Jonny Phillips.
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Willing to teach:
£20 p/h. Beginner, intermediate and advanced teacher with experience of teaching in a weekend music school and primary and secondary schools.