Take Five With David Martin
David Martin was born in Toledo, OH and grew up in Charleston, WV. He graduated from Capital University's Conservatory of Music in Columbus, OH. He is a composer, arranger, teacher, and performer. He played in the Columbus area for several years then moved to Minneapolis, MN and lived there 13 years. He had his own jazz trio and also played in Puro Cubano, Beira Mar Brasil, Proyecto La Plena, Latin Sounds Orchestra, Salsa Del Soul and Blue Plate Special.
He and Brazilian musician Robert Everest teamed up for the CD, Trio Daviolaâ He was also a participant on on the CD, Cuban Jazz, sold nationwide at Target stores. He moved to Portland, OR in 2008 where he and Mike Doolin teamed up for the CD Reflections, and has been back in Minneapolis since September, 2010.
Electric and acoustic guitar, and lectric and acoustic bass.
Teachers and/or influences?
Chuck BielCharleston, WV
Stan SmithCapital Univ. (Columbus,OH)
Influences: On guitar, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Scott Henderson, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Grant Green. For bass, I like Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Bailey, Marc Johnson and Will Lee.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I was willing to get a paper route to pay for my first guitar and lessons.
Your sound and approach to music:
Love the sound of all the contemporary guitar guys I listed above. A sound like Mike Stern's or John Scofield's is so great for cutting through the mix. Not as traditional, but that's ok.
Your teaching approach:
Not too different than most probably. Stuff I've stolen from previous teachers mixed with things that I've ended up needing to know myself and doing my own homework. Listening!
Your dream band:
My dream band to see was always Tribal Tech. They play(ed) their own non-commercial original music and recorded for years. They didn't get rich, of course, but they are my favorite.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Latin Sounds Orchestra onstage at The Quest in downtown Minneapolis in mid-'90s and the conga player and bongo player get into a fight onstage during a song. The conga player was winning and was pummeling the poor bongo player. The bandleader/singer announced to the crowd that the bongo player was having a seizure and had to be held down. True story.
Loved playing the bigger/nicer venues in Minneapolis. First Avenue, The Fine Line, The Quest (formerly Glam Slam). This was mostly with salsa bands and a lot of people would come out to dance.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
By far it's Reflection, with Mike Doolin. After appearing on quite a few CDs, this was the first time I got to record my own stuff with a person that thought remarkably similar to how I think.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
It was either Pat Metheny Group (white album), or something by Jean-Luc Ponty.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Trying to be the person I wanted to be as an 18 year-old college freshman: self-employed, playing good music with good musicians, recording, composing, some private students, a little traveling to play said music, etc.
Did you know...
Made a living for years playing almost no American music of any kind. Salsa, Plena, Brazilian. Odd for a white boy from West Virginia.
CDs you are listening to now:
Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1967 (Columbia);
Manu Chao, Radio Bemba (Nacional);
Medeski, Scofield Martin & Wood, Out Louder (Indirecto).
Desert Island picks:
Miles Davis, My Funny Valentine (Columbia); Pat Metheny Group, Pat Metheny Group (ECM); John Coltrane , The Heavyweight Champion (Atlantic); Michael Brecker, Michael Brecker (Impulse!); Weather Report, 8:30 (Columbia).
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Not too good. Luckily, I met Mike Doolin, who is a world-renowned guitar maker who had a home studio in his house. That's the only way I would have gotten to make a professional recording of my own music. I get to play some jazz, but I play a lot of salsa, Brazilian, and dance band stuff too.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Jazz has moved almost exclusively to the schools now and this is very disappointing. Charging outrageous sums of money for worthless performance degrees while being taught by musicians, who would rather be playing if they hadn't decided to have families, need health insurance, etc. Now, they have to teach and are being made to go back to school to get their own degrees. I get depressed every time I think about it. Nobody is being honest with the students that there are not many playing gigs out there. Certainly none you need a degree for.
What is in the near future?
Hopefully, more recording with Mike Doolin in 2012 and some performances out in Portland. If I can drum up any Minneapolis work for us, maybe here too. We work well together.
None. Poor and starving.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Photo Courtesy of David Martin