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Marc Ribot

Idioma disponible: inglés
A strikingly gifted guitarist whose repertoire runs the gamut from traditionalist roots music to jagged free improvisation, with stylistic fearlessness and passion the principal unifying factors, Marc Ribot has distinguished himself as both a sideman and leader of his own iconoclastic projects. After making his way into New York's downtown experimental music community in the late '70s, Ribot first gained serious attention for his work with John Lurie's "fake jazz" combo the Lounge Lizards and various projects with adventurous composer John Zorn while also performing with R&B acts. He began a longstanding association with Tom Waits in 1985 and has also collaborated frequently with Elvis Costello and producer T-Bone Burnett. As a solo artist, Ribot released a series of albums mixing jazz and noise-rock, before gaining wider acclaim with 1998's Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (The Prosthetic Cubans), exploring traditional Cuban music. He has remained as unpredictable as ever, releasing solo guitar and film-inspired music for Tzadik and collaborating on projects like Live at the Village Vanguard with Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor. Along with recording an album of historical protest songs, 2018's Songs of Resistance 1948-2018, Ribot also leads the politically charged punk trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, releasing albums like 2008's Party Intellectuals, 2017's YRU Still Here?, and 2023's Connection. Ribot was born in Newark, New Jersey on May 21, 1954. He took up the guitar as a teenager and began playing with local rock bands in high school. As his interests in music expanded, Ribot began studying with Frantz Casseus, a Haitian composer and classical guitarist; he'd later go on to record a number of Casseus' pieces. While Ribot is left-handed, he learned to play guitar in the right-handed style, which helped to give his work a tough, gutsy sound. In 1978, Ribot left Newark for New York City, and began making a name for himself on the downtown experimental music scene, initially as a member of the band the Realtones, and later with John Lurie's group the Lounge Lizards. Ribot also became a frequent collaborator with avant-garde composer John Zorn, while also working as a sideman with soul and R&B acts such as Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, and Carla Thomas. In 1985, Ribot was recruited to play on Tom Waits' album Rain Dogs, which led to a longstanding collaboration between the songwriter and the guitarist. Ribot also became acquainted with producer T-Bone Burnett, who often brought the guitarist in for his studio projects, including sessions with Elvis Costello, Sam Phillips, John Mellencamp, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Diana Krall, Elton John, and Leon Russell. Costello was especially taken with Ribot's work, inviting him to join his road band the Rude Five and to play on his albums Spike, Mighty Like a Rose, and Kojak Variety. Ribot made his recorded debut as a bandleader with his group the Rootless Cosmopolitans, who issued their debut album in 1990. Mixing jazz with rock and avant-garde elements, the album featured contributions by clarinetist Don Byron and keyboardist Anthony Coleman. Cross-genre jazz and noise experimentations marked 1993's Requiem for What's His Name, which found Ribot working with several of his downtown associates, including the Lounge Lizards saxophonist Roy Nathanson and reedist Ralph Carney. Yet more punk, jazz, and fractured blues themes arrived with 1994's Shrek, featuring Medeski, Martin & Wood guitarist Chris Wood, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, drummer Jim Pugliese, and percussionist Christine Bard. Going back to a solo guitar session, Ribot explored haunting jazz standards and stark noise improvisations on 1995's Don't Blame Me. That same year, he collaborated with guitarist Fred Frith on Sounds of a Distant Episode. Two years later, he contributed to the Tzadik label's interpretive film scores series with Shoe String Symphonettes, drawing inspiration from a variety of obscure films with the assistance guests including John Zorn, Bill Ware, and Curtis Fowlkes, among others. Ribot gained wider acclaim after signing with Atlantic and releasing 1998's Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (The Prosthetic Cubans). The debut album from his traditional Cuban-influenced ensemble, it found the guitarist interpreting the music of influential Cuban composer Arsenio Rodriguez. Two more albums followed for the label, including 2000's Muy Divertido!, which was a sequel to "The Prosthetic Cubans," and Saints, his second solo guitar album of mixing jazz and noise rock. At the same time, he maintained a close association with the Tzadik label, releasing 2003's Scelsi Morning as part of their new composer's series, a second album of film-inspired works, and the solo guitar album Exercises in Futility, the latter of which featured prompts or "set-ups" that Ribot composed to inspire improvisation in the face of futility. Ribot also developed a recording relationship with Pi Recordings, releasing an album of Albert Ayler compositions. In 2008, the guitarist debuted his politically charged, punk and noise-rock trio Ceramic Dog with Party Intellectuals featuring bandmates bassist/singer Shahzad Ismaily and drummer/singer Ches Smith. Released on Pi Recordings, it was followed by another solo guitar album, Silent Movies, and a 2014 concert album, Live at Village Vanguard, with Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor. In 2016, Ribot released The Young Philadelphians: Live in Tokyo, which captured his 2014 performance backed by a string ensemble, mixing Philly soul traditions with avant-garde jazz. That same year, he collaborated with two other noted experimental guitarists, Elliott Sharp and Mary Halvorson, for the album Err Guitar, released in May 2017. He then reunited with his Ceramic Dog bandmates for their sophomore album of protest punk-jazz, YRU Still Here? In 2018, he partnered with Anti- for Songs of Resistance 1948-2018, another set of politically oriented material that included guest vocals from Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Syd Straw, and Tift Merritt, among others. The album reached number five on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart. Ribot's 2021 release Hope was drawn from a series of sessions recorded in May 2020, which marked the first time he and his Ceramic Dog collaborators had been able to play music together (albeit in isolated spaces in a recording studio) due to the COVID-19 lockdown). He was back with a trio for 2023's equally potent and politically minded Connection.
© Mark Deming & Matt Collar /TiVo
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