The daringly inventive Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez has become a ubiquitous presence on the New York scene, and he brings the powerful punch of his NYC shows to the SFJAZZ Center. In just the past 12 years he’s played on more than 100 albums, including projects led by Paquito D’Rivera, Issac Delgado, Eliane Elias, Stefon Harris, Steve Turre, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Conrad Herwig, and Brian Lynch and Eddie Palmieri’s Grammy Award-winning CD Simpático. As a bandleader, Martinez has developed a captivating sound steeped in Afro-Cuban rumba and Santeria’s bata beats and chants, but also informed by North American rhythmic currents, an approach that The New York Times described as “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk.” Born in Havana, Martinez began performing at 11, working as vocalist and percussionist with Cuban legends such as percussionist Tata Güines and legendary folkloric ensemble Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Recruited by Canadian soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett for her group Spirits of Havana in 1998, he decided to stay in North America. Within two years he earned first place in the Thelonious Monk Institute’s first competition focusing on Afro-Latin hand drumming, and he’s been soaring ever since.
Pedrito Martinez percussion, vocals
Edgar Pantoja-Aleman keyboards, vocals
Alvaro Benavides electric bass, vocals
Jhair Sala percussion, vocals