Saxophone soloist: Meet musician Marcus Monteiro

Apr 23, 2021

MARION — You like jazz?

Marion musician Marcus Monteiro does.

Monteiro has been playing saxophone for nearly thirty years — ever since he was a fifth grader at Sippican School, where he learned music from the same teachers there today. 

“My son is now 12 years old, and he has the same music teacher, which is pretty cool,” Monteiro said.

The 38-year-old has made a name for himself playing in different bands all over the world, including with his own local band, the MonteiroBots.

Monteiro said he loves to improvise, and draws his inspiration from saxophonist Joshua Redman — but jazz isn’t all he does.

“I love playing different styles of music,” he noted, adding that he’ll play anything from bluegrass to hip hop.

He has even tried to copy Jimi Hendrix’s guitar riffs on his saxophone. “It didn’t always work,” Monteiro laughed.

Back in fifth grade, he originally wanted to play piano — but, he said, “My parents came home with a saxophone.”

After falling in love with the instrument thanks to some funky James Brown CDs — “That’s what kind of hooked me,” he noted — Monteiro studied performance and composition at UMass Dartmouth.

“Later on I started getting into jazz,” he said. “It’s taken me all over the place, different countries, different festivals.”

Monteiro has played a jazz festival in Panama, Bonnaroo, and other large music festivals, which he calls “crazy”.

“They’re fun,” he said. “There’s almost too much going on...but it’s really cool because you get so much music in such a small space.”

Last year Covid put the kibosh on the live music scene, which deeply affected Monteiro and most other musicians — and not just their livelihoods.

“It actually mentally affected me a lot,” he said. “I’m so used to performing with other musicians, that was kind of my outlet. And then all of a sudden it went away.”

“There’s a very big difference between playing in your room and playing with real humans,” he added.

But now, as restrictions loosen, all of last year’s postponed gigs are lined up for this year — “so now we have double the number of gigs,” he said, depending on covid.

Monteiro said that performing is one of his favorite parts of being a musician.

“I enjoy playing in the community more than anything else,” he noted. “Entertaining people that are local. Festivals — you don’t know anyone. It’s fun, and people are really into it, but it doesn’t have the same connection.”

The MonteiroBots will be playing the SouthCoast Spring Arts festival’s “Jazz by the Harbor” concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 at the Bandstand at Island Wharf in Marion.

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