Marcus Machado - May/June 2016
The Nu-Vibe Renaissance Sessions
By: Tom Pragliola
The Marcus Machado Band is currently engaged in a monthly residence at Club Bonafide, a new live music and private event venue on E. 52nd Street in NYC, owned by Richard Bona.
After experiencing guitarist Marcus Machado for the first time at the BAM Café in Brooklyn in early April, - an eclectic show including funky jazz, rock, and rap - I attended the May 19 session at Club Bonafide.
The night’s music began with the iconic John Coltrane piece “A Love Supreme”, throwing down a marker of the band’s intentions. They do not confine themselves to any particular genre and they play with a sense of fearlessness and fun.
The band played two sets over the course of 3 + hours, playing a wide mix including “Electric Fire” from the recent EP “29”, guest spots with vocalist Brian Owens doing a slow, bluesy cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, and a faithful to the original cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”, and vocalist J. Mitchell performing a dramatic “Summertime, and Marcus and the band doing an eighteen minute medley of “Red Baron” / “Teen Town” / “Giant Steps”, displaying Marcus’ affinity for 70’s jazz fusion combined with classic jazz. This is a band playing at a high level while taking chances and obviously enjoying themselves.
So I returned for the next session on June 16. The evening began with “Stratus” from Billy Cobham’s jazz-fusion landmark ‘Spectrum’ LP from 1973. The band played the appropriately titled “Rockout” from Marcus’s EP “29”, and “Butterfly”, a Herbie Hancock song from the 1974 album ‘Thrust’. Marcus then welcomed guests Angela Johnson who sang and played piano accompanied only by Marcus on guitar, performing an emotional ballad and a blues, and guest Bria Monet who sang and played guitar with the band (without Marcus), performing two quirky soul / r&b originals. The band played one long set on this night, and late in the set they played Miles Davis’ “Tutu”, introduced as one of Marcus’ favorite songs. Halfway through the song E.E. Delray, along with Bria Monet on vocals, joined in for an impromptu rapping segment.
Marcus is a guitarist. He can wail as well as anybody, and he often includes a Jimi Hendrix song in his shows, but he’s no typical shredder. I’d call him a guitar craftsman.
A Marcus Machado show is all-inclusive. From a smooth funky jazz to a Jimi Hendrix cover to sweet sounding instrumentals to 70’s jazz-fusion to special guest vocalists performing blues or hip-hop/rap. There’s something new and exciting happening and it’s a family affair.
The Marcus Machado band is:
Marcus – guitar and vocals
Paul Bloom – keyboards
Henny Montes – bass
Xavier-Jamaal Hill – drums
V. Jeffrey Smith – sax
JS Mitchell – trumpet.
Note: The Nu-Vibe Renaissance Sessions take place the third Thursday of every month at Club Bonafide.