Marcos Varela is a graduate of Houston, Texas' renowned High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, where his fellow alumni include Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, and Beyoncé. After graduation, he arrived in NYC to continue his studies at the New School, leading to opportunities to perform with a wide range of artists including George Cables, Billy Hart, Clifton Anderson, Jason Moran, Geri Allen, The Last Poets, the Mingus Big Band, Kendrick Scott, Billy Harper and Tyshawn Sorey, among countless others. He has also composed music for several film and TV projects, including director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese's film "Roots in Water."
Legendary bassist Ron Carter contributed to Marcos' album "San Ygnacio" liner notes, where he writes that Varela's "tone, choice of notes and compositions will place his playing and name on the list of bassists to be heard." A hero turned mentor, Carter is just one of the jazz elders who have taken note of Varela's talents and encouraged the bassist along his path. While still in college, he was invited to join longtime Dizzy Gillespie drummer Charlie Persip's big band. Around the same time, Billy Hart included Varela in a sextet of young players that also featured rising stars Theo Croker, Sullivan Fortner, and Irwin Hall. Since then he has gone on to make a name for himself as one of the most in demand bassist in NYC and worldwide, being Selected as a member of Jazz at Lincoln Center Trombonist Vincent Gardener's Jazz Houston which has featured guests such as Wynton Marsalis and Ramsey Lewis.
In addition to his sideman work he leads his own projects. This included a recent European tour which featured a performance of the music of his debut album, San Ygnacio at the world renown Jazz a Liège festival. This project, Marcos Varela featuring Billy Hart shared a billing with Fred Hersch's trio at the festival. His newest project “One Mind” recently released on the Spanish label, Fresh Sound Records is a project with pianist Peter Zak which features Seamus Blake and Billy Drummond.