Marlin McKay Quartet
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Marlin McKay Quartet


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The best kept secret in music


"Marlin McKay Quartet: Expanding Minds"

Amanda Telischak
Arts and Review Reporter

Four jazz musicians harmonize with energy and power, creating a vibration of weaving rhythms, complex harmonies, and and soulful melodies.

The Marlin McKay Quartet prides their variety and strength on their passion and love for the music. "Performing is like lighting in a bottle," says McKay, the 25-year old flugelhornist who envisioned the group years ago.

For McKay, music was introduced early on. The youngest of three, he wanted to be like his sisters and began playing the cello at only 8 years of age. "My mother played three instruments and my father was a freelance D.J. in his spare time-music was always going on in our house."

With a sparkle in his eyes, McKay described his enjoyment for creating new material, as it is always a surprise and unique to each player. When asked why he formed this particular group, with a laugh, McKay said that, "I have a strange philosophy about trumpet players--they never get hired, so I took it upon myself to create the group that I had envisioned being a part of." Throuh the band, he continues to feed his urges to write music and hear it played by his outstanding constituents.

McKay says that the ultimate goal of the group, besides the creation and output of new music, is to get exposure and present the art form of Jazz in its most raw form. Most rewarding to McKay are the friendships and connections he has made through music making. Mikel Avery, his drummer, is one of his closest friends. McKay has also developed close friendships with musicians in other states and said that he wishes that he could one day unite all of them for one big project. He enjoys rekindling relationshiops and watching players "mature into indescribable beings."

That is how he spoke of Karl McComas Reichl, his young bass prodigy. Watching the group members feed off of one another with their "disgusting faces" as McKay calls them, referring to the funny faces musicians make when performing, is uplifting and connects the musicians. "We have a blast," Karl said.

With enthusiasim in his voice, McKay leaned forward in his seat and said that his favorite thing about playing is "watching Mikel play and seeing the musicians feed off of something I wrote. It's craziness!"

Avery said that he enjoys working in the atmosphere McKay has created for him and the other members. "Marlin has taught me alot about music, not just playing but the business side as well," said Avery." "I owe alot to him."

The Marlin McKay Quartet enjoys playing weekly at Mike's 3rd Street Grill/Deli and City Grill in Wausau, as well as The Copper Rock Coffee House in Appleton. They are excited to add several other venues to their performance schedule, whic can be found at McKay's website:

McKay has some important advice for emerging and aspiring artist: "Stick to your guns. Push past the expectation that everyone needs to sound a certain way. What I am doing right now is extremely controversial."

McKay also had some interesting advice for the potential audience members: "Always come to a concert expecting nothing, that way you're not surprised. Listen to as much diversified music as you can, and go see more live music."

He also said that it helps if we support the musicians in our communities by attending concerts, and buying cds, and even as little as telling someone else about your experience with the music. He want s to expand the minds and interest of people he can reach in Central Wisconsin and beyond.
- The Pointer


Deep in the Cosmos


Feeling a bit camera shy


You can hear in his writing influences of Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, and Kenny Dorham, to name a few. Other artists that Marlin's "group sound" has been compared to are the Marcus Strickland Quartet, Joshua Redman, and Roy Hargrove. Marlin received an honorable mention for his composition Deep in the Comos in the 2005 ASCAP Young Composers Jazz Competition.

This Hard Bop Flugelhornist credits himself as being heavily influenced by the playing of Tom Harrell, Art Farmer, Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, and Wynton Marsalis, although there are countless others. Marlin is a two-time receipient of the Outstanding Jazz Trumpet Soloist Award at the University of Northern Colorado-Greeley Jazz Fest. McKay was recently selected as a member of the 2006 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program in Washington D. C., and is scheduled to perform four concerts on the Millenium stage of the Kennedy Center.

Drummer- Mikel Avery, a Milwaukee native who has studied with, Joe Lovano drummer, Otis Brown III, is a prolific musician that associates his drumming primarily with that of, Brian Blade, E.J. Strickland,Willie Jones III, Eric Harland, and the late great Elvin Jones. He divides his time between intense study of jazz, and his second love, writing dance shows and working with local dance companies.

Bassist- Karl McComas- Reichl This young bass prodigy spent the last year absorbing everything from Classical to Latin music at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. He is currently attending the world famous New York jazz institute, New School, and denotes that his two major influences on bass jsut so happen to be Ray Brown and Christian McBride.

The Marlin McKay Quartet uses either Pianist- Eric Cline or Guitarist- Kelvin Kaspar

Pianist / Fender Rhodes- Eric Cline, also a native of Milwaukee, is a graduate of the Lawrence Music Conservatory, and has been accepted into the piano performance program at Stony Brook Music Conservatory in Long Island NY. His influences range from Bach to also wisconsin native, Geoff Keezer, who is also a well noted classical pianist as well as jazz.