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Pedrito Martinez: The Pedrito Martinez Group

Andrew Luhn By

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On the front cover of their debut album, The Pedrito Martinez group, declares their music to be "The Latin Jazz Revolution!" and revolutionary might just be the best way to describe the group's music. Pedrito Martinez is undeniably one of the most talented young musicians in Latin music today and has become one of the most in-demand in the industry for both his beautiful voice and his exceptional percussion skills. The group he leads is expanding the definitions of Latin jazz seamlessly blending the styles of timba, gospel, guaguanco, blues, jazz, and classical music into their own sound that bursts with energy and never ceases to groove.

Besides Martinez, this group is blessed with another prodigiously talented individual, Cuban pianist, Ariacne Trujillo. Trujillo is an accomplished pianist, vocalist, and dancer, and performs each of these roles with a confidence and conviction, seldom seen in such young musicians. Venezuelan-born bassist, Alvaro Benavides is also a key part of this band's sound. His unshakable time and his ability to find exactly the right groove are central to the band's effortless shifts between feels. Peruvian-born percussionist, Jhair Sala, has spent years studying with Martinez and the two of them share a special connection in their playing and seem to groove as one.

Despite the complexity of the music, the groove and time feel of the group never suffers for it. Even during instrumental breaks or extended a capella passages, the underlying rhythm is always explicitly present and the music propels itself forward with a relaxed energy. Every member of the band seems perfectly in sync with the time. Not a note seems wasted.

Obviously this group has been influenced by myriad traditional Latin styles as well as popular North American styles but it doesn't seem accurate to describe the music as only being "influenced" by these styles. The musicians play the music with such authority and confidence that the music becomes a unique blend of authenticity and creativity, tradition and innovation. The Pedrito Martinez Group's debut album puts them at the forefront of the "Latin Jazz Revolution."

Track Listing: Conciencia; Lengua De Obbara; Travelling Riverside Blues; La Luna; Memorias; La Habana; I'll Be There; Musica; Despues De Todo; Los Santos

Personnel: Pedrito Martinez: Percussion, Lead Vocals; Ariacne Trujillo: Piano, Lead Vocals; Alvaro Benavides: Electric Bass, Background Vocals; Jhair Sala: Percussion, Background Vocals; Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet (Track 2); John Scofield: Guitar (Track 3); Steve Gadd: Drums (Tracks 4, 10); Gary Schreiner: Chromatic Harmonica (Track 7); Marc Quinones: Timbales (Track 10); Matt Dillon: Spoken Word

Title: The Pedrito Martinez Group | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Motema Music

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