Marc Cary soon came under the wing of pianist Walter Davis, Jr., who encouraged him to move to New York City. After two years of studying at the University of the District of Columbia under the tutelage of renowned trombonist and educator Calvin Jones, Cary did relocate in 1988. Within months of arriving in the jazz capital, he was playing in bands led by Arthur Taylor, Mickey Bass and Betty Carter. At the same time, he
quickly befriended and started working with Q-Tip, the famed emcee from A Tribe Called Quest; members of the Wu Tang Clan; and other prominent hip-hop musicians. Cary produced and played keyboards on much of The Renaissance, Q-Tip’s Grammy nominated solo album!
In the 1980s and early ’90s, Marc Cary spent 2 and one half years on the road with Betty Carter, becoming one of the vocalist’s longest-serving pianists. In 1991, he left to join trumpet phenom Roy Hargrove’s band.
n 1995, Cary released his debut, Cary On, a striking record that introduced his songwriting talents with grooving originals like “The Vibe” and “So Gracefully.” The album featured an all-star cast including Hargrove and saxophonist Ron Blake. He followed it with 1997’s Listen, then The Antidote in 1998. Trillium, released in 1999, found Cary working with longtime collaborators Nasheet Waits on drums and Tarus
Mateen on bass. He followed that album with a project called Rhodes Ahead: Vol. 1, on which he welds his interest in ambient music with his dance roots, doing it all through the lens of the Fender Rhodes electric piano. It was a revolutionary record, and it contributed directly to Cary winning BET’s first-ever Best New Jazz Artist award the following year. !
As a sideman, Cary continues to tour with Stefon Harris, Cindy Blackman Santana, Will Calhoun and other preeminent jazz musicians.