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Mel Martin

Mel Martin is a composer, arranger, bandleader, saxophone and flute player - one of the most versatile and creative musicians to ever emerge from the San Francisco Bay Area. In his long career, he’s played a part in many of the innovative movements that have come out of that creative community. He sat in with Wes Montgomery and his brothers while he was still a teenager, played in John Handy’s Freedom Band in 1962, worked and recorded with many of the progressive rock and Latin rock bands of the late 60s and early 70s including The Loading Zone, Cold Blood, Azteca and Boz Scaggs. He founded the award winning Listen, one of the early West Coast jazz-fusion bands in 1976. He’s currently artistic director of Bebop and Beyond, a group he founded in 1983, as well as leading the Mel Martin Quartet, The Tenor Conclave, the Mel Martin Big Band and the Benny Carter All Star Tribute Band.

Mel has recently completed the new Mel Martin Band recording Where The Warm Winds Blow to be released on Jazzed Media and distributed by Allegro- Music. “It is quite different from anything I've recorded since the early '90s and is reminiscent in ways to my early Listen recordings but with much more of a jazz slant.” It was recorded in July, 2008 when the great jazz pianist Don Friedman came out from New York to do a California tour with the group including guitarist Brad Buethe, bassist Robb Fisher and drummer extrordinaire Jeff Marrs. Besides Don, special guests include John Santos on percussion and Barry Finnerty on guitar. The repertoire is broad and varied from the fiery Latin-tinged Rhythm Man (Do Not Disturb) to the contemporary classical piece with a jazz breakout In The Stars by Stephen Mellilo, I Have A Dream by the great Grammy Award winning Herbie Hancock including Mel’s adaptation for woodwinds of his original horn arrangement, the funky, Bitches Brew style of Silly Hawk Walk, a beautiful live version of Blue In Green, George Russell's inventive take on Love For Sale: Ezz-Thetic, The great Benny Carter composition Where The Warm Winds Blow, my personal tribute in 6/8 to my lovely wife Catey: To Catey With Love, and the chestnut Victor Young composition Weaver of Dreams. On many of the pieces, Mel overdubbed special woodwind arrangements appropriate to the particular composition or just featured the sextet and quartet. “I'm very excited about getting it out there and hope that peolpe will enjoy it.”

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"This is gritty, driving music from a high-octane performer who has been delivering the goods for many years." Ted Goia - Jazz.com

"Never content to rest on his laurels, Mel brings a wide variety of jazz stylings to this release." Jeff Krow - Audiophile Audition

"While this CD resists easy classification, it is among the most compelling recordings that Mel Martin has made during his entire career." - Ken Dryden, Billboard

"Martin’s a master of phrasing and a meticulous melody maker." George Fendel - Jazz Society of Oregon

"I am most impressed with Mel Martin's musicianship." Benny Carter

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


I have had a longstanding commitment to education. I believe that part of a musician's function is to pass along their standards, knowledge and tradition to others. Teaching allows the musician to continue their own learning process. I have taught privately for many years and continue to do so. I have also taught in colleges and have done numerous clinics and Jazz Workshops throughout the United States. I have honed my private teaching methods to two separate but parallel areas. I emphasize development of tonal and technical studies while simultaneously emphasizing application of these techniques to musical situations. My belief is you cannot have one without the other. My educational background includes thorough musical training at Sacramento High School with bandmaster Aubrey Penman, private studies with saxophonist Bud Harphum of Sacramento and a few profound lessons with Lee Konitz. I attended San Francisco State University where I studied flute with Herb Benkman and Paul Renzi and composition with Albert Socco. The rest of my jazz studies took place on the streets of San Francisco during the early 'sixties.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography


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