Marcus Elliot is a saxophonist, composer, improviser, and educator based in Detroit, Michigan. Marcus is a 2020 Kresge Artist Fellow, awarded by Kresge Arts in Detroit. He is the current director of the University of Michigan's Creative Arts Orchestra. His compositions and improvisations have been described by the New York Times as "convincing and confident, evolved in touch and tone...", and the Detroit Free Press has said, "Marcus Elliot represents next generation of jazz". Elliot leads and co-leads many different Detroit based bands including the Marcus Elliot Quartet, Clockwork, Balance, Beyond Rebellious, and Lanula. Elliot performs in the Shigeto Live Ensemble. He is a Fellow of the Geri Allen Gathering Orchestra. He co-founded the nonprofit Polyfold Musical Arts Collective. Elliot is the director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Jazz Ensembles. Elliot received his master's degree in improvisation from the University of Michigan.
Elliot is a disciple of the Detroit music scene. His mentors include Rodney Whitaker, Marcus Belgrave, Robert Hurst, Donald Walden, Bennie Maupin, Marion Hayden, and Karriem Riggins. After graduating with a bachelors degree in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University, Marcus began to curate weekly performances in Detroit, showcasing some of Detroit's young jazz musicians. He held a weekly residency at Detroit's premiere jazz club, Cliff Bell's, for four years. Marcus self-released three albums with his ensemble, the Marcus Elliot Quartet and co-released an album with his duo project with Michael Malis, Balance.
As a Sideman, Marcus has performed with Bob Hurst, Karriem Riggins, James Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Marcus Belgrave, Johnny O'Neal, Jimmy Heath, Shigeto, Thaddeus Dixon, Ettiene Charles, Mulgrew Miller, Rodney Whitaker, Talib Kweli, and many others.
Marcus was a co-founder of Polyfold; a collective of musical artists who have joined together to develop, and present creative works. Founded in Detroit, Polyfold produces concerts and recordings, hosts outreach events and educational workshops, and fosters creative community in Detroit and beyond.
Marcus has traveled the world with trumpeter Anthony Stanco as a musical ambassador through the program American Voices. During his travels, Elliot has collaborated with musicians from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, and Kyrgyzstan.
Marcus is a member of the Shigeto Live Ensemble. This ensemble explores techno, funk, ambient, jazz, and hip-hop through using acoustic and electronic instruments.
As an Educator, Marcus has been giving private saxophone lessons since the age of 14. He was the saxophone instructor at The Young Musicians Program in Berkley, CA from 2009-2011. He was the Artist-in-Residence at Troy High School from 2013-2018 and one of the head directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Jazz Ensembles 2014-present. Marcus is a strong supporter of the arts and has created and funded a scholarship at Milford High School that gives monetary awards to young musicians and visual artists that plan to pursue the arts after high school.
Marcus has received his Masters of Music degree at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a graduate assistantship. He is active in the Detroit music community, collaborating with musicians in jazz, free-improvised music, techno, hip-hop, r&b, and classical music.