Musician and composer Marcos Varela began playing the bass in his native Houston, TX at the age of sixteen while attending the highly acclaimed High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, which has been attended by many greats in music today such as Jason Moran, Eric Harland, Robert Glasper, Beyoncé Knowles, Brian-Micheal Cox, Chris Dave and many more. Marcos quickly gained recognition in the Houston jazz scene and by the age of 18 was one of the top honorees of the NFAA International Jazz award, a IAJE Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Star. In recent years he was invited to participate in the IASJ in Frieburg, Germany, a program featuring top students from jazz programs worldwide led by Dave Liebman and George Gruntz. He was later a member of the prestigious Kennedy Centers Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program held in Washington, D. C. and Rivinia-Steans Institute, held in Chicago, Illinois. Both programs take musicians based on high level composition and performance skills.
He attended the New School University in NYC on scholarship and quickly became part of the New York and World music scene playing with bands led by great musicians and legends such as Billy Hart, Charli Persip, Martha Wainwright, Umar Bin Hassan (Last Poets), Rally Bop, Brad Leali, George Cables, Orrin Evans, Bob Mover, Frank Lacy, Mike Moreno, Greg Bandy, Winard Harper, Clifton Anderson, Edsel Gomez, Mark Shim, Phoenix Rivera, Rudy Royston, Ron Afif, E.J Strickland, David Budway, Bruce Barth, Bruce Cox, Andre Hayward, Tyshawn Sorey, Jacob Sacks, Junior Mance, Wayne Escoffery, Thomas Heberer (ICP), Ohad Talmor, Antonio Hart, Miles Okazaki, Allan Harris, Adam Birnbaum, Robert Glasper, George Colligan, Victor Jones, Kendrick Scott and Geri Allen. Just to name a few.
Marcos is also very accomplished in his compositions for Film and TV. One of his recent achievements was a film score for a Domenica Cameron-Scorsese film “Roots in Water,” an adaptation of a piece by Tony Award winning playwright, Richard Nelson. It was an official selection at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and received a red carpet premiere. Other film credits include “Greenwich and 11th” directed by John Carlino, Produced by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese. In addition to his film scoring career some of Marcos’ compositions can be heard on popular american TV shows as well commercials in the U.S and in Canada.
Also In the realm of popular music, he has composed music, taken part in music videos and recorded for The Last Poets- Umar Bin Hassan (Jerome Huling) solo project featuring Cappadonna of the Wu-Tang Clan, Styles P, Common, Dead Prez, Roy Hargrove and many others. Another project in development he is a part of is a new jamaican sensation “Rally Bop”.
Marcos has performed on three continents and over ten different countries worldwide. Just some of his touring performances include Jazz Festivals in Monterrey, CA Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), Vancouver Jazz Festival (Canada), Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), IAJE ’06 & ’07, Ljubjana Jazz Festival (Slovenia), Cape Cod Jazz Festival (Massachusetts) and the JVC Jazz Festival (NYC). Some of his top New York and World Club appearances include Dizzy’s Club, Jazz Standard, Small’s, 55 Bar, Zinc Bar, Fat Cat, La Lanterna, Smoke(NYC), Kitano (NYC), Sweet Rhythm (NYC), Blue Room (KC), Dazzle (Denver), Bakers Keyboard Lounge (Detroit), Kerrytown House (Ann Arbor), Chris’ Jazz Cafe (Philadelphia), Jamboree (Barcelona), New Morning, Sunset-Sunrise (France), Underfarhtt (Germany), Birdseye (Switzerland), A-Train Germany, Blue Note (Milan and NYC), Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express (London), Body and Soul, Jazz Lovely, Blue Note (Japan), St. Nicks Pub, Minton’s Playhouse (NYC), Bennetts Lane (Melbourne, Australia), The Eliington (Perth, Australia) and many more.