French guitarist Marc Antoine is a contemporary jazz performer who combines his adept, classically trained chops with a hybrid of multi-cultural influences from flamenco and Afrobeat to hip-hop and R&B.
Born in Paris in 1963, Antoine first began playing guitar around age 11 and by age 13 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 non-classical styles of music. In 1988, after time spent honing is skills at the Edouard Paiteron College and the International School of Classical Guitar, he 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, 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 albums 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. 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 an extended period living in Spain, Antoine moved back to California where built a studio at his home in Laguna Beach. In 2016, he marked the moved with his 13th album, the aptly titled Laguna Beach. Included on the album were guest appearances by Philippe Saisse, Rick Braun, and Paul Brown. A year later, he paired with pianist David Benoit for So Nice! featuring the single "Caminando." ~ Matt Collar