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. After moving to New York City in 1978, Ribot was a member of the soul/punk Realtones, and from 1984 – 1989, of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards. Between 1979 and 1985, Ribot also worked as a side musician with Brother Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and many others.
Rolling Stone points out that “Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985’s “Rain Dogs”, and since then he’s become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp.” Additional recording credits include Soloman Burke, Neko Case, Diana Krall, Beth Orton, Marianne Faithful, Arto Lindsay, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Susana Baca, McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Passengers, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Cibo Matto, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, James Carter, Vinicio Capposella (Italy), Auktyon (Russia), Vinicius Cantuaria, Sierra Maestra (Cuba), Alain Bashung (France), Marisa Monte, Allen Ginsburg, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips, and more recently Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Norah Jones, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, Jeff Bridges, Jolie Holland, Elton John/Leon Russell and many others. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most notably on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s Grammy Award winning “Raising Sand” and regularly works with composer John Zorn.
Marc has released over 20 albums under his own name over a 35-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler with his group Spiritual Unity (Pi), to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez with two critically acclaimed releases on Atlantic Records under Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos. His avant power trio/post-rock band, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog (Pi), continues the lineage of his earlier experimental no-wave/punk/noise groups Rootless Cosmopolitans (Island Antilles) and Shrek (Tzadik). Marc’s solo recordings include Marc Ribot Plays The Complete Works of Frantz Casseus (Les Disques Du Crepuscule), John Zorn’s The Book of Heads (Tzadik), Don’t Blame Me (DIW), Saints (Atlantic), Exercises in Futility (Tzadik), and his latest Silent Movies released in 2010 on Pi Recordings was described as a “down-in-mouth-near master piece” by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board. 2013 saw the release of Your Turn (Northern Spy), the sophomore effort from Ribot’s post-rock/noise trio Ceramic Dog, and 2014 saw the monumental release: Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard (Pi Recordings), documenting Marc’s first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 already included on Best of 2014 lists including Downbeat Magazine and NPR’s 50 Favorites.
Marc has performed on scores such as “The Kids Are All Right,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Walk The Line (Mangold),” “Everything is Illuminated,” and “The Departed” (Scorcese).” Marc has also composed original scores including the French film Gare du Nord (Simon), the PBS documentary Revolucion: Cinco Miradas, the film Drunkboat, starring John Malkovich and John Goodman, a documentary film by Greg Feldman titled Joe Schmoe, a feature film by director Joe Brewster titled The Killing Zone, and dance pieces “In as Much as Life is Borrowed”, by famed Belgian choreographer, Wim Vandekeybus, and Yoshiko Chuma’s “Altogether Different”. Marc is also currently touring his live solo guitar score to Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, which was commissioned by the NY Guitar Festival and premiered Jan 2010 at Merkin Hall, as well as a program of new arrangements of classic Film Noir scores commissioned by the New School Noir Arts Festival 2011.
In 2009, Marc was named curator and musical director for the year’s Century of Song Festival, part of the Ruhr Triennale in Germany. The concert series sparked new collaborations with Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, master cajón player Juan Medrano Cotito, Carla Bozulich and Tine Kindermann.
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 is currently touring with several projects including the Marc Ribot Trio, a free jazz group featuring legendary bassist Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor on drums, his power trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, the Philly soul meets the harmolodics of Ornette Coleman’s The Young Philadelphians with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, and with Caged Funk, a project of funk arrangements of John Cage’s music featuring Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic fame.