Marc Ribot (/ˈriːboʊ/; born May 21, 1954) is an American guitarist and composer.
His work has touched on many styles, including no wave, free jazz, rock and Cuban music. Ribot is also known for collaborating with other musicians, most notably Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Vinicio Capossela, and composer John Zorn.
Ribot was born in Newark, New Jersey. He has worked extensively as a session guitarist. He has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, John Zorn, David Sylvian, Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, The Lounge Lizards, Arto Lindsay, T-Bone Burnett, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Cibo Matto, Elysian Fields, Sam Phillips, Elvis Costello, Tift Merritt, David Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Foetus, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Susana Baca, The Black Keys, Stan Ridgway, Vinicio Capossela, Alain Bashung, Lyenn, Hector Zazou, McCoy Tyner, Elton John, Madeleine Peyroux, Marianne Faithfull, Leonid Fedorov, Tonio K, Andres Calamaro, Anarchist Republic of Bzzz, Diana Krall, Mike Patton and others.
Ribot's earliest session work was featured on Tom Waits' Rain Dogs (1985) and helped define Waits' new musical direction. Ribot worked with Waits on many of his following albums including Franks Wild Years (1987), Big Time (1988), Mule Variations (1999), Real Gone (2004), Orphans (2006) and Bad as Me (2011). He has appeared on Elvis Costello's Spike (1989), Mighty Like a Rose (1991), and Kojak Variety (1995). Ribot has appeared on numerous recordings by John Zorn, including many of Zorn's Filmworks recordings, solo performances on Zorn's Masada Guitars (also featuring Bill Frisell and Tim Sparks), and is a member of Zorn's Bar Kokhba Sextet and Electric Masada.
Ribot's first two albums featured the Rootless Cosmopolitans, followed by an album of works by Frantz Casseus for solo guitar. Further releases found him working in a variety of band and solo contexts including two albums with his self-described "dance band", Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos (Prosthetic Cubans), featuring compositions by Arsenio Rodríguez.
Ribot admitted to Guitar Player a relatively limited technical facility due to learning to play right-handed despite being left-handed: "That's a real limit, one that caused me a lot of grief when I was working with Jack McDuff and realizing I wasn't following in George Benson's footsteps. I couldn't be a straight-ahead jazz contender if you held a gun to my head, but that begs the question of whether I would want to be one."
He currently performs and records with his group Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith of the avant-garde band Secret Chiefs 3. Ribot's most current studio work involves several tracks accompanying the legendary pianist from John Coltrane's group, McCoy Tyner on his late 2008 album and DVD Guitars; which also features work with John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Béla Fleck, and Derek Trucks.
In late 2010, he toured Europe with his band SunShip (Mary Halvorson, Chad Taylor, Jason Ajemian).
A biographical documentary film about Marc Ribot was made, called The Lost String.
Ribot was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
- Sabbath in Paradise (1998)
- The Soul of a Man (directed by Wim Wenders) (2003)
- A Bookshelf on Top of the Sky: 12 Stories About John Zorn (2004)
- Tom Waits Real Gone Tour DVD bootleg recording (2005)
- The Lost String (directed by Anais Prosaic) (2007)