Celebrating Contemporary Indigenous Music | University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences

Although Teuton played lead guitar on “Joint Souls,” his knowledge of the guitar was limited until high school, with his repertoire consisting of only three chords. He then watched a performance by his high school’s award-winning jazz band and noticed the guitarist on stage.

“I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Can you play guitar in class? ‘ I had to take it. “

Marcus Teutonic playing guitar on stage
“When you get to a certain point in your musicality, it’s not about who’s more talented. It’s about owning your own voice and adding something to the music,” Teuton said above. Photo courtesy of Marcus Teutonic.

Teutonic was told he was unlikely to reach the musical level needed to join a jazz band next year, but he was undeterred. “I’m very ambitious,” he said. “When people told me ‘no,’ I really went all in.” He was accepted into the high school jazz band and majored in jazz at the University of Washington School of Music.

Although Teutonic has “jazz” in his professional title, his own music defies easy categorization. Musical heroes include Jimi Hendrix, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Moody Waters, Bobby Womack and Curtis Mayfield, It’s no surprise that his own music blends jazz and soul, blues and rock. He credits the jazz faculty at the University of Wisconsin, especially professors Cuong Vu and Ted Poor, for encouraging him to develop his own cross-genre style.

“I really like that you’re strongly encouraged here to find your own identity, to find your voice in that way,” he said. “When you reach a certain level of musical attainment, it’s not about who is more talented. What’s important is having your own voice and adding something to the music.

The Teutonic band reflected his sound. In 2022, he asked a few friends in a jazz studies program if they would play some of the songs he had written. They recorded a single in a friend’s basement studio and decided to continue as a band. More musicians joined — Joint Souls now includes two French horns, two keyboardists, a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist and a vocalist — and the band eventually played a show at the Royal Room, a popular music venue in South Seattle. A spring break tour followed, playing clubs on the West Coast. They have since performed at more venues in Seattle, including the Mural Amphitheater at the 2024 Folk Festival.

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