It’s a rare talent that can link Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, Ethio-jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke, Afrofuturists Sun Ra Arkestra and grime legend Dizzee Rascal but Ben Marc has long blurred musical worlds and criss-crossed boundaries. On double and bass guitar, he flits between jazz, classical and electronic music, whether playing on Greenwood’s award-winning score for the film The Master or touring with Astatke for over 10 years, as well as working with the likes of Matthew Herbert, Charles Mingus, China Moses and Soweto Kinch – and even joining Tina Turner once onstage.
But as a producer and multi-instrumentalist at the leading edge of the UK jazz scene, Ben Marc is now stepping into the spotlight with his debut solo album, Glass Effect. Its title speaks to the limited perception of black musicians as being only of one genre – and to shattering expectations. “There’s a glass ceiling in most of the areas I’ve been working in: making it in classical music; the lack of Black producers at the top in electronic music,” says Marc. “There’s so many different sides to being a Black musician in London. Evan Parker is a massive influence for me one minute and the next it’s Common, and then Mount Kimbie.”