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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 the recently released REAL GONE.
All the while, the increasingly in-demand guitarist continued 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 his recording DON'T BLAME ME, a solo reinvention of American standards, received praise from 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. In 2001, Atlantic released SAINTS, a solo work where Marc turned well known tunes such as The Beatles "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" into left of center spacey sound collages.
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.
Marc's talents have also been showcased with a full symphony orchestra. Composer Stewart Wallace wrote a guitar concerto with orchestra specifically for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004 and also appeared at The Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2005.
Marc's free jazz group SPIRITUAL UNITY recently released an album on Pi Recordings, offering their unique take on the works of Albert Ayler. Marc and Spiritual Unity continue to perform, completing a European tour in the Fall of 2006. Ribot has also been focusing on his new project CERAMIC DOG, a guitar and composition heavy, rocking trio featuring Ches Smith on drums and Shahzad Ismaily on bass. The trio is currently recording material for an album and will perform live in Europe in the Spring of 2007 and indefinitely throughout New York and North America.
Marc continues to be an active studio musician, prominently featured on Tom Waits' latest release "Real Gone," Medeski Martin and Wood's "End of the World Party," a solo record by T Bone Burnett and scores for "Walk the Line," "Everything is Illuminated," based on the best selling novel and "The Departed," Martin Scorsese's latest. Marc has also recently composed original scores for the PBS documentary "Revolucion: Cinco Miradas," and the film "Drunkboat," starring John Malkovich and John Goodman.