Marc Ribot

Last updated

Marc Ribot
Muy divertido.jpg
Ribot performing in 2007
Background information
Born (1954-05-21) May 21, 1954 (age 66)
Newark, New Jersey, United States
Genres Experimental, alternative, avant garde, electronic, hardcore punk, no wave, classical, free jazz
Years active1970s–present
Labels Antilles, Avant, DIW, Atlantic, Tzadik, Pi
Associated acts Lounge Lizards, Shrek, Los Cubanos Postizos, Bar Kokhba Sextet, Electric Masada, Jazz Passengers, Young Philadelphians, John Zorn, Tom Waits, Youn Sun Nah

Marc Ribot ( /ˈrb/ ; [1] born May 21, 1954) is an American guitarist and composer.


His work has touched on many styles, including no wave, free jazz, rock, and Cuban music. Ribot is also known for collaborating with other musicians, most notably Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Vinicio Capossela and John Zorn.


Ribot was born to a Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up in the Montrose section of South Orange, the son of a noted physician. He has worked extensively as a session guitarist. He has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, Caetano Veloso, John Zorn, David Sylvian, Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, The Lounge Lizards, Arto Lindsay, T-Bone Burnett, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Cibo Matto, Sam Phillips, Elvis Costello, Tift Merritt, Allen Ginsberg, Foetus, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Susana Baca, The Black Keys, Vinicio Capossela, Alain Bashung, McCoy Tyner, Elton John, Madeleine Peyroux, Marianne Faithfull, Diana Krall, Mike Patton, Stormin’ Norman & Suzy Williams, Neko Case, Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Robert Quine, Ikue Mori, [2] and others.

Ribot's earliest session work was featured on Tom Waits's Rain Dogs (1985) and helped define Waits's new musical direction. [3] Ribot worked with Waits on many of his following albums including Franks Wild Years (1987), Big Time (1988), Mule Variations (1999), Real Gone (2004), Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (2006) and Bad as Me (2011). He has appeared on Elvis Costello's Spike (1989), Mighty Like a Rose (1991), and Kojak Variety (1995). Ribot has appeared on numerous recordings by John Zorn, including many of Zorn's Filmworks recordings, solo performances on Zorn's Masada Guitars (also featuring Bill Frisell and Tim Sparks), and is a member of Zorn's Bar Kokhba Sextet and Electric Masada.

Ribot's first two albums featured the Rootless Cosmopolitans, followed by an album of works by Frantz Casseus for solo guitar. Further releases found him working in a variety of band and solo contexts including two albums with his self-described "dance band", Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos [4] (Prosthetic Cubans), featuring compositions by Arsenio Rodríguez.

Ribot admitted to Guitar Player a relatively limited technical facility due to learning to play right-handed despite being left-handed: "That's a real limit, one that caused me a lot of grief when I was working with Jack McDuff and realizing I wasn't following in George Benson's footsteps. I couldn't be a straight-ahead jazz contender if you held a gun to my head, but that begs the question[sic] of whether I would want to be one." [5]

He currently performs and records with his groups Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith of the avant-garde band Secret Chiefs 3, [6] Marc Ribot Trio with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Chad Taylor of Chicago Underground, and The Young Philadelphians, covering 1970s Philadelphia soul music with Philadelphia-based musicians bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston with guitarist Mary Halvorson plus a three-piece string section.

A biographical documentary film about Ribot was made, called The Lost String. [7]

Ribot was also a judge for the sixth annual Independent Music Awards. [8]


Marc Ribot in Saalfelden, Austria 2010 Ribot-Schindelbeck-Wiki.jpg
Marc Ribot in Saalfelden, Austria 2010


Related Research Articles

Masada (band)

Masada is a musical group with rotating personnel led by American saxophonist and composer John Zorn since the early 1990s.

Curtis Fowlkes American jazz trombonist and singer

Curtis Fowlkes is an American jazz trombonist and singer. He is a founding member of The Jazz Passengers.

Greg Cohen American jazz bassist

Greg Cohen is an American jazz bassist who has been a member of John Zorn's Masada quartet and worked with numerous other noted musicians for over four decades.

Anthony Coleman

Anthony Coleman is an avant-garde jazz pianist. During the 1980s and 1990s he worked with John Zorn on Cobra, Kristallnacht, The Big Gundown, Archery, and Spillane and helped push modern Jewish music into the 21st century.

<i>Masada Guitars</i> 2003 studio album by John Zorn

Masada Anniversary Edition Vol. 1: Masada Guitars is the first album in a series of five releases celebrating the 10th anniversary of John Zorn's Masada songbook project.

<i>The Circle Maker</i> 1998 studio album by John Zorn

The Circle Maker is a double album by John Zorn featuring Zorn's Masada compositions performed by the Masada String Trio and the Bar Kokhba Sextet which was released in 1998 on the Tzadik label.

<i>¡Muy Divertido!</i> 2000 studio album by Marc Ribot

¡Muy Divertido! is a studio album recorded in New York City by Marc Ribot with Los Cubanos Postizos. It was released April 25, 2000 on Atlantic Records.

Roy Nathanson

Roy Jay Nathanson is an American saxophonist, composer, bandleader, actor and teacher. He became the leader and principal composer of the Jazz Passengers, a six piece group that he founded with Curtis Fowlkes in 1987. They have toured Europe many times and played at major festivals in Finland, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland, as well as the J.V.C. Festival in New York, the Du Maurier Festival in Canada and toured throughout the United States and Canada. The band has recorded eight albums since their debut release.

<i>Filmworks VIII: 1997</i> 1998 soundtrack album by John Zorn

Filmworks VIII: 1997 features two scores for film by John Zorn released on Zorn's own label, Tzadik Records, in 1998. It features the music that Zorn wrote and recorded for The Port of Last Resort (1998), a documentary directed by Joan Grossman and Paul Rosdy examining the experiences of Jewish refugees in Shanghai and Latin Boys Go to Hell (1997) which was directed by Ela Troyano.

<i>Masada Rock</i> 2005 studio album by John Zorn

Masada Anniversary Edition Vol. 5: Masada Rock is the fifth and final album in a series of five releases celebrating the 10th anniversary of John Zorn's Masada songbook project. It features 10 Masada songs performed by Jon Madof's Rashanim trio with Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass and Mathias Kunzli on drums in addition to Madof's guitar with guest appearances from Marc Ribot on two tracks. It was released in 2005 on Zorn's Tzadik Records as part of the Radical Jewish Culture Series.

<i>Asmodeus: Book of Angels Volume 7</i> 2007 studio album by Marc Ribot

Asmodeus: Book of Angels Volume 7 is an album by Marc Ribot performing compositions from John Zorn's second Masada book, The Book of Angels.

<i>Saints</i> (Marc Ribot album) 2001 studio album by Marc Ribot

Saints is a 2001 album of solo guitar recorded by Marc Ribot. It features several interpretations of compositions by Albert Ayler, as well as traditional spirituals, jazz standards, showtunes, and a song by The Beatles.

Bill Ware III born William Anthony Ware III is an American jazz vibraphonist.

<i>Rootless Cosmopolitans</i> 1990 studio album by Marc Ribot

Rootless Cosmopolitans is the debut solo album by American guitarist Marc Ribot, released by Antilles in 1990.

This discography includes albums by guitarist Marc Ribot, and significant recordings to which he has contributed. The year in brackets indicates the date of first release.

<i>Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus</i> 1993 studio album by Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus is a 1993 album of solo guitar works by Haitian-American composer Frantz Casseus recorded by Marc Ribot and released on the Belgian label, Les Disques du Crepuscule. Ribot studied classical guitar under Casseus who fused jazz and the European classical tradition with folk music of his native Haiti. The album was recorded in New York City in 1989 and 1993, and was supervised and approved by an ailing Casséus who died the year it was released.

Frantz Casseus (1915–1993) was a Haitian-American guitarist and composer.

<i>Enigmata</i> (album) 2011 studio album by John Zorn

Enigmata is an album of John Zorn compositions performed by Marc Ribot and Trevor Dunn, conducted by Zorn. It was released by Tzadik Records in 2011.

<i>Ipos: Book of Angels Volume 14</i> 2010 studio album by The Dreamers

Ipos: Book of Angels Volume 14 is an album by the Dreamers performing compositions from John Zorn's second Masada book, The Book of Angels.

Bradley Christopher Jones is an American jazz bassist who performs on both bass guitar and double-bass.


  1. "Marc Ribot biography". Marc Ribot Homepage. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  2. "Discograph". Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  3. Ruhlman, W. All Music Review of Raindogs accessed September 3, 2008.
  4. Jazz, All About. "A Fireside Chat with Marc Ribot". All About Jazz. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  5. Guitar Player , June 1997
  6. Ted Drozdowski (June 25, 2008). "Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog Party Intellectuals". The Boston Phoenix . Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  7. "Marc Ribot. The Lost String". January 27, 2013. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  8. Independent Music Awards – 6th Annual Judges Archived October 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine