from The Bronx, New York, who grew up in a musical family and cut his teeth
on the congas and drums when he was only three years old. His father and uncle were also percussionists and he would frequently sit in on
his uncle’s live gigs, at the tender age of six or seven.
He made his professional
debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of nine, as one of many drummers in the
pit band for a Latin musical. One
of his father’s friends was in the show and encouraged him to show
off his talents at Robert Clemente State Park, a site Tito Puente had
picked to audition several kids for his live act. There, he acquainted himself with
Bobby and Tito Allende and Jose Jusino, and the four of them hit it off and were
recruited into Puente’s band.
They billed themselves as Los Rumberitos
and supported Puente at venues such as Central Park, the Lincoln Center,
and Madison Square Garden. The
quartet was an instant hit and stayed together until they were in their
teens. Marc even got a chance
to record with Puente, on his 100th record, no less, before he
was out of high school.
When he was seventeen years
old and eligible to legally perform in the local night clubs, he got a call
from Rafael de Jesus, who was looking to record a solo LP. It was an education for young Marc,
who found himself playing alongside Sal Cuevas,
Oscar Hernandez, and Juan Pepin.
Other artists with whom he worked around this time included Jose Alberto
and Luis Ortiz. He did a lot of
subbing for other musicians, as well, because the demand for salsa music
exceeded its supply.
Salsa music didn’t pay
well, however, and Marc was savvy enough to support his hobby with a
full-time job as a teller at Citibank.
It was a short-lived vocation.
His band-mate, Sal, informed him of an opening in Willie
Colon’s band, in the recording studio. Willie was delighted with his
playing and his sight-reading ability and decided to keep him on. During the next five years, Marc was
an integral part of the band, playing a wide variety of percussive
instruments, serving as musical director, and co-producing one of their
In 1986, he hooked up with
Ruben Blades for a string of music festivals and that lasted for a couple
of years until he was recruited by David Byrne to join a small orchestra of
Latin musicians on his Rei Momo
tour. His high-profile cohorts
included Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz,
and Jose Mangual, Jr.
In 1989, he became a member
of the jazz-fusion super-group, Spyro Gyra. At
one of their shows, he was wooed by Allman
Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks to switch bands. The meeting was well-timed, as he
was not a part of Spyro Gyra’s
long-term plans, and would have been looking for a job soon, anyway. It was 1991 when Marc laid down his
first tracks with The Allman Brothers Band,
tracks that would later appear on the album, Shades of Two Worlds, aptly titled for its seamless coalescence
of Southern fried rock and Latin backbeats. The odd musical marriage has lasted
until the present day, although it has not precluded him from working on
In 2001, he performed on the
Marc Anthony album, Libre,
and has performed on the soundtrack of Sex
in the City and recorded music for Folgers coffee commercials. He has also been heard on the big
screen in films such as The Mambo
Kings and Do the Right Thing.
Marc still resides in his
hometown and sits in with a variety of Latin bands when he’s not
performing with The Allman Brothers Band. He and his childhood friend, Bobby Allende, have been collaborating on a new recording
entitled Q and A.