A bit about Marcus...

Bio

The story of Marcus Rezak is not one for those who don’t believe in fated occurrences or natural affinity. It is not for those who don’t believe that passion should forcefully direct the flow of one’s life. 

It is, however, a tale for seekers ready to leave misgivings at the door and allow music’s sway to settle in their minds like a rich fog. In music, we find truth. Within music’s truth, we find the sounds of Marcus Rezak. Marcus is the guitarist and founding member of hard-hitting Chicago progressive rock four-piece The Hue. Despite its relative nascence, having formed in early 2007, The Hue has managed to bulldoze through the heap of indistinguishable Midwest rock bands and purist jazz players to emerge as a unique synthesis of rock’s guttural power, metal’s balls-to-the-wall fever pitch and jazz’s harmonic experimentalism. With their first LP freshly in hand (2009’s “Beyond Words”), a slew of major festival performances across 2008 and 2009, and a firmly rooted fanbase stretching well beyond the bounds of Chicago’s underground rock clubs, The Hue is speeding toward domination of the rock fusion world. As a grassroots artist, solid presence—not to mention a swift ascendance--in today’s fractured music industry is admirable. Marcus’ life has been dedicated to sound, and the formally trained music educator, studio musician, manager and performer displays his drive and professionalism in all areas of endeavor, behind the scenes and amidst the sweat of the crowd. His great-grandmother, Esther “Gigi” Zechman, a concert pianist at Chicago’s fabled Orchestra Hall, first exposed Marcus to music. Her talent and passion influenced Marcus to continue in the family tradition by learning simple piano tunes at two years old. Marcus continued learning piano and eventually took professional lessons between the ages of seven and eight. Later, the guitar bug bit hard upon introduction to jazz. Suddenly Marcus found himself fronting his own fusion band, Jhama, in his first live gig at the Heartland Café in Chicago. He was 15 years old. For years before he could even drink at the establishments that hired him, Marcus honed an appreciation for live improv through a stream of professional gigs. By the time he entered Berklee School of Music in Boston, his focus on the intricacies of musical experimentation and collaboration placed him within the upper echelon of entering recruits, although the caliber of musicianship among faculty and students was still daunting. “I felt like a small fish in a big sea,” Marcus recalls. But like with everything else, he dove into life at Berklee with full heart, making immediate connections with other musicians and establishing his own musical community around the city. With the help of academic giants such as John D. Thomas, Mark White and Norman Zocher, Marcus immersed himself in music, practicing for 10 hours per day. He made a name for himself in the East Coast scene such that he was soon collaborating with Brooklyn-based jazz/funk drummer Louis Cato, and recording with Grammy award-winning producer John Ovnik. During his last years at Berklee, Marcus formed a neo-soul/freestyle three-piece with fellow grads Yuki Kanesaka and Takuma Anzai called Spice Works. Together they recorded an all-original LP and gained a sizable following in the Boston area. Marcus graduated cum laude in 2006. In the scant number of years since his relocation back to Chicago, Marcus’ career as a professional rock fusion guitarist has been nothing short of a whirlwind tour de force.  As a guitar instructor, within months he built his own freelance clientele, teaching primarily jazz students. In late summer of 2006, he was offered the spot of lead guitarist in Chicago-based acoustic funk and roots outfit 56 Hope Road, the 10-year touring sensations who garnered Home Grown Music Network’s Road Warrior honor for three years in a row. After recording the band’s “Law of Attraction” album, he hit the road with them for a solid 10 months--and he’d barely been out of school for a season. Here he grew to understand the intricacies of how a band functions in the business world, taking on booking agent and various managerial duties in addition to performance. Following the stint with 56 Hope Road, Marcus continued to play with his friend John Wasem, a virtuoso folk singer-songwriter. John Wasem Band, under the original moniker John Wasem and The Sparrow Four, had recorded the acclaimed, melodic and lyrical “Sparrow Four Sessions” during the previous summer, on which Marcus composed and performed all electric guitar parts. The experience had introduced him to a wide range of Midwest heavy hitters, with the likes of keyboardist and vocalist Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee fame having lent a hand. Cultivating these connections and nursing an ever-ravenous appetite for exploration, he pushed on to new musical heights when forming The Hue. Jared Rabin (guitar), Kyle Myers (bass) and Brian Gilmanov (drums) kicked Marcus’ style into high progressive-rock gear at first impression. They played the legendary rock clubs graced by their idols—i.e. Kinetic Playground, Martyrs--before “Unscene,” their first instrumental EP, debuted in fall 2007. With the release of the EP and emerging from a weekly stint at Chicago’s legendary Wise Fools Pub, the band began performing alongside some of the nation’s best live acts, including The Wood Brothers, Karl Denson, Garaj Mahal, New Monsoon, The Motet, The Breakfast, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller and members of Umphrey’s McGee and The New Deal. For the past three years they’ve brought their aggressive progressive fusion to venues across the Midwest, making stops at the 2008 and 2009 Summer Camp and 10,000 Lakes music festivals along the way. A commanding stage presence, Marcus takes the euphoric freedom of live music and directs its path with The Hue, as well as in the sweet folk jambalaya of John Wasem Band, for which he is still a frequent collaborator. Taking copious notes on what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve is what has led Marcus to respect in the music world and to such integral heights with The Hue. “Beyond Words,” released in August 2009, has helped to focus the band dynamic and bring about a maturity in the sound. As their sonic bouquet evolves, The Hue—and Marcus Rezak—drive relentlessly forward to find new stories to tell through music.