All That Jazz: Archibald’s native fills Scranton with music this weekend |

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Archbald native Marko Marcinko’s music career playlist includes several genres, but his real passion is jazz.

This passion has led him to develop a sustainable summer festival in Scranton, the Scranton Jazz Fest, which starts today and lasts all weekend. This year’s festival does not require a ticket for a performance, although donations are encouraged.

Since he was young, music has been an integral part of Marcinko’s life. Her father, Pat Marcinko Jr., was a performer, composer and music teacher, working at Archbald High School, Scranton Central High School, and Scranton School District.

“We grew up listening to a lot of music at home. My older siblings are also musicians for this reason. It’s a musical family with a long tradition of involvement in music, ”said Marcinko.

Marcinko’s earliest musical memory is his attempt to play from memory a song he heard on television on the piano. At the age of 4, he started taking piano and drums lessons, before moving on to other instruments. Now he mainly plays drums, keyboard, trombone and other percussion instruments. Marcinko was trained across the musical spectrum, including music theory and harmony, as well as a multitude of instruments.

Marcinko graduated from Valley View High School in 1988, then attended the University of Miami, where he studied instrumental music and jazz studies, graduating in 1993. Then he founded a group called Active Ingredients, which has shot in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey. , Maryland and Florida. Marcinko then worked with renowned jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson for three years.

In 1999, Marcinko joined the Dave Liebman Group and the Dave Liebman Big Band, an award-winning and Grammy-nominated jazz group, and worked with them for 20 years.

Marcinko is also the Director of Jazz Studies at Penn State University’s main campus and continues to perform with his own group, The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet, and with other musicians across the country.

“As you go along, it doesn’t matter how old you are or when you started, as you keep going and venture further into music and with music, you are constantly growing,” Marcinko said.

Jim Buckley of Scranton has seen Marcinko’s talent grow over the years. He is a family friend and mentor of Marcinko, as well as a musician and educator of the jazz festival with the jazz camp for the festival.

Even during Marcinko’s early years, Buckley described Marcinko’s wonderment surrounding all things musical.

“It’s like watching a sports athlete who was awesome in high school, awesome in college, and they just turn into a pro. They get better and better at their game, that’s what Marko is, ”Buckley said.

Marcinko particularly enjoys jazz because it allows the most creativity and offers a unique connection to the American experience.

“It’s truly American and a representation of democracy. You see them (a jazz band) negotiating harmony, melody and rhythm, they play each other, they share with each other. Democracy is supposed to be like this, ”Marcinko said.

Apart from Marcinko’s musical accolades, the Scranton Jazz Festival is incredibly important to Marcinko, not only as a performer, but also one of its founders.

The Scranton Jazz Festival started in 2005 and, with the exception of last year due to COVID-19, it has since brought music to the streets of Scranton.

“We didn’t have a jazz festival in that area and many other towns in Pennsylvania all have jazz festivals. Scranton didn’t and it seemed appropriate to have this festival, ”Marcinko said.

What started as a one-day concert at Nay Aug Park quickly grew into a three-day festival encompassing all of downtown Scranton.

This year, Marcinko and the people involved in the festival created QR codes that festival-goers can scan in different venues to get information on sponsors, venues, the time the artists play and information about the artists themselves. themselves instead of a physical program book.

“We are using technology to our advantage at this year’s festival, where we never got to last year,” Marcinko said.

The festival runs through Sunday in downtown Scranton, with fireworks on Saturday. For a full schedule, visit www.scrantonjazzfestival.org.


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