Thu, April 21
The Heidi Martin Ensemble
The Kennedy Center
April 29, 2022 marks the release of Gifts & Sacrifices,
the new album from American vocalist and composer Heidi Martin. Born in Washington, D.C., Heidi’s development as a professional artist began by studying with elders of jazz such as Grady Tate
and Keter Betts
, as well as attending The University of the District of Columbia Jazz Ethnic Studies Program, under the direction of Professor Calvin Jones. Enhancing these studies were live performances at D.C.’s own historic venue One Step Down where Heidi witnessed iconic artists such as The Shirley Horn
Trio, The Cedar Walton
Trio and The Terence Blanchard
/ Donald Harrison
Quintet to name just a few. Monday nights at One Step belonged to the duo of pianist Reuben Brown
and bassist Steve Novasol. After sitting in one night, Rueben offered Heidi an open invitation to sit in regularly, an generous opportunity to grow in vocal phrasing.
Moving to New York City in the late '90s, Heidi established herself on the East Coast scene via performing at a critically acclaimed debut show at Birdland Jazz Club, with Dave Budway
on piano, Dwayne Burno
on bass, Gregoire Maret
on harmonica, Paul Bollenback
on guitar, and Dana Murray
on drums. It was in New York that Heidi cultivated her expertise as a composer and band-leader, eventually releasing her debut album Hide
—co-produced by Dana Murray with musicians Eric Revis
, Gregoire Maret, James Hurt
, Dana Murray. Kahlil Kwame Bell
, Derek Gardner, Vincent Gardner
, Sherman Irby
, and Jamal Brown
was described by All About Jazz as: “a biopic of the 21st Century American South: the sticky sensuality and dusty prejudice that endures, never changing. Musically, Hide is the same, but sparingly so, Muscle Shoals and Memphis distilled to the pure essence. The instrumentation and musical arrangements are like the drop of water added to the sacramental chalice, the vehicle for the lyrics to manifest in the aural sea of forgiveness. Hide is a demanding, inventive recording that pays the listener dividends in thoughtful consideration and insight.”
She has shared the stage as a featured vocalist with Nicholas Payton
, Tim Warfield
, and George Burton
. As guest artist on recordings with Russell Gunn
, and Dana Murray. Significant collaborations in co-production with producer and keyboard innovator Raymond Angry.
Select film credits include: Four of Martin’s compositions off her first album Hide
—were chosen as a soundtrack to Revolution ’67
, a documentary about the 1967 Newark rebellion by Emmy-nominated filmmakers Jerome and Marylou Bongiorno.
Heidi was recently awarded South Arts’ Jazz Roads touring grant to generate exposure to Heidi Martin's album of all original compositions on 'Gifts & Sacrifices' and enhance her artist presence in both jazz and popular music arenas. Gifts and Sacrifices
will be performed in its entirety at each venue date. A few of the notable musicians featured are Paul Bollenback, Tim Warfield, Josh Evans
, Victor Gould
, Ameen Saleem
and Gene Lake
Heidi has performed both nationally and internationally at Winter JazzFest, DC Jazz Festival, Black Arts Fest, Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), The Kenzi Sky Bar, Cadet Rouge in (Casablanca, Morocco).
Heidi Martin is a distinguished Teaching Artist, Script-writer and Education Coordinator for DC Jazz Festival Education Programs.Gifts & Sacrifices
, recorded at GSI studios in New York in June 2021, features some of the Big Apple’s finest players, such as guitarist Paul Bollenback, keys player Raymond Angry (co producer on ‘I Love You In Every Language’), bassist Tarus Mateen, trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist Tim Warfield, drummer Eric Harland
, pianist George Burton, and vocalist Paige Brown. Of her collaborators, Heidi says: 'I chose each musician, who is an artist in their own right. Knowing that each would make their own spontaneous contribution and would cause the flow of the music to take us with it. That’s a strong level of trust, I’m grateful to be where I am and I am willing to be taken by the music still."
Each musician enhances the album in their own way, while providing a strong endorsement through their willingness to collaborate on Heidi’s original material. The album is an enthralling and heart-warming listen, destined to be one of this years stand out releases in an era of post-pandemic optimism.