Marcus first took up the saxophone in 1984 at age 12 under the direction of Gary Bailey
at the Texas School for the Blind in Austin, Texas.
Showing an almost immediate aptitude for the instrument, he set about on
a middle and high school career studded with achievements, including 2 Louis
Armstrong Jazz Awards. Adding to his studies with private music lessons from
instructors at the University of Texas and summer tours with state-sponsored
ensembles, by the age of 16 he had already performed in both the Montreaux
Jazz Festival in 1987 and the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1988. It was also during this time that he began
playing around the city of Austin, sitting in any time he could with his
friends in the popular local Soul/R&B band Blue Mist.
In 1990, Marcus moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study at the Berklee College
of Music. Here he focused heavily on music theory,
ear training, and reportoire, as well as studied privately with the likes of
Andy McGee, (instructional author for the Berklee Saxophone Series and former
saxophonist for Lionel Hampton), and Bill Pierce, (former saxophonist for Art Blakey,
Art Farmer, and Max Roach).
Leaving Berklee for a short time in 1992, Marcus moved to the Birmingham, Alabama
area to tour the Southeast U.S. with his own band, Midnite Rain
as part of the budding "Jam-band" movement of the early 90's. During this time,
he also enjoyed a brief stint touring with Ryko recording artists
The Barking Tribe, opening for such acts as Cowboy Mouth and The Reverend Horton Heat.
Returning to Berklee in 1994 to resume his studies, Marcus also started working on the
Boston studio scene as a saxophonist, and began playing bass in a local rock band Boomahead. He did this until 1995, when he once again moved to Austin,
where he still lives today.
For the last 19 years, Marcus has been an active resident of the vibrant and diverse Austin music scene,
performing and recording with bands of all genres.
As a performer, he has been a part of Austin's legendary hip-hop/funk outfit
Retarted Elf and has toured with reggae artists Root 1, as well
as made appearances with everyone from local legends Carolyn Wonderland and Pinetop Perkins to national superstars Parliament Funkadellic. His jazz-funk quartet Gnappy performed and
toured across the U.S. from 1997 to 2007, sharing bills with acts like Col. Bruce Hampton, the Wailers, and Papa Grows Funk. Written up
in national publications such as JazzTimes, they were also featured on prominent music websites
Napster and The Homegrown Music Network. Gnappy recorded 3 albums--the third of which, "UnLoadEd", spent 8 weeks on the CMJ Jazz Top 40 as well as received extensive airplay on radio stations around the country and can still be heard on SiriusXM, Rhapsody, Pandora, iTunes radio, and Spotify.
Currently Marcus works steadily with several
projects about Austin, from variety bands like the Argyles to jazz trumpeter Erik Telford. His 3-piece horn section, Hellfire Horns, also provides performance and recording support for both local and touring acts; including Bob Schneider, Alice Russell, and Marc Broussard. Recently, he has also began working as a bassist, turning the hobby he picked up in high school into even more professional collaborations. Along with all of this, he still finds time to appear at shows and on recordings as a sideman with many other well-known locals; including The Scabs, Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys, Gospel singers George and Vincent Powell, D-Madness' Thermastat, and Dr. Darkness.