About Marc Antoine
Marc Antoine is a contemporary jazz guitarist from France who combines adept, classically trained chops with a hybrid of multicultural influences from flamenco and Afrobeat to hip-hop and R&B. In addition to his own recordings, his playing has been featured on dozens of recordings by artists on both sides of the Atlantic. Antoine is also a gifted composer, producer, and arranger. He won international notice while touring the world with Basia in 1988, then relocated to Southern California, where he spent several years as a first-call session player. His 1994 GRP debut album, Classical Soul, won international airplay, while 1996's Urban Gypsy marked his first entry on the contemporary jazz charts, where his recordings have consistently resided ever since. 1998's Madrid peaked at five and became an international hit, paving the way for the chart success of Universal Language in 2000 and Cruisin' in 2001. After emigrating to Spain, Antoine released a slew of globally charting albums including 2007's Hi-Lo Split, 2009's Foreign Xchange, a split outing with Paul Brown, and 2012's Guitar Destiny. In 2015, Antoine returned to Southern California and worked on several of Brown's recordings before issuing Laguna Beach on Woodward Avenue in 2016. The following year, he teamed with David Benoit for So Nice! After working in the studio for several years, Antoine re-emerged as a leader with Something About Her in 2021.
Born in Paris in 1963, Antoine first began playing guitar around age 11, and by 13 he was studying privately at Conservatoire de Paris. Influenced by classical idols including Andrés Segovia and John Williams, he progressed quickly, and by the end of high school was an adept performer with a burgeoning love of jazz, fusion, and other nonclassical styles of music. In 1988, after time spent honing is skills at the Édouard Pailleron College and the International School of Classical Guitar, Antoine moved to London, where he joined Polish vocalist Basia's backing ensemble. Also during this period, he immersed himself in the growing acid jazz scene and found work with stylistically varied acts like Soul II Soul, Solsonics, DJ Greyboy, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Pato Banton, and others.
From there, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he continued to find work with a bevy of big-name artists including Sting, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Selena, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Queen Latifah, and more. It was also after moving to Los Angeles that he made his solo debut with 1994's Classical Soul on NYC Music/GRP. Marked by his nylon-string guitar sound and buoyed by the single "Unity," the album climbed to the top of the contemporary jazz charts. The similarly successful Urban Gypsy followed a year later. Several more well-received releases followed on GRP, including 1998's Madrid, 2000's Universal Language, and 2001's Cruisin'.
Antoine then moved to Dave Koz's Rendezvous Entertainment, delivering the 2003 Latin-inflected Mediterraneo before emigrating to Madrid (his wife's hometown). Along with a cover of Everything But the Girl's "Lady," the album featured the single "Cubanova." Two years later, he returned with the more electronic, club-ready Modern Times, which featured his vocal debut on a French-language cover of Sting's "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets." Hi-Lo Split appeared on Peak Records in 2007, followed by his collaboration with guitarist Paul Brown on 2009's Foreign Xchange.
In 2010, Antoine explored his classical influences on My Classical Way, offering up Latin, bossa nova, and smooth jazz songs inspired by classical composers including Debussy, Mozart, and Pachelbel. He then drew upon his love of travel for 2012's Guitar Destiny. After more than 12 years in Spain, Antoine moved back to California, where he built a studio at his home in Laguna Beach. In 2016, he marked his return to America with his 13th album, the aptly titled Laguna Beach. Included on the record were guest appearances by Philippe Saisse, Rick Braun, and Paul Brown (who also mixed the set). The title track topped the contemporary jazz singles chart for two weeks. A year later, he paired with pianist David Benoit for So Nice! featuring the single "Caminando."
He spent the next several years as a session and live player. He worked in the studio and appeared on David Benoit and Friends and Philippe Saisse Trio's On the Level. Antoine spent most of 2020's COVID-19 quarantine recording and producing tracks. He enlisted friends including keyboardists Brian Simpson, Saisse, and Benoit, drummer Gordon Campbell, and saxophonists Marion Meadows and Greg Vail, among others. The end result, Something About Her (dedicated to his wife of 25 years as an anniversary gift), was released in May 2021. ~ Matt Collar & Thom Jurek