Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Martinez, Andre

Martinez, Andre, drums; b. Brooklyn, NY, 14 October 1955.

Growing up in a family of professional musicians, music has been a part of his life from the very start. Andre's father, Enrique Martinez (builder, master carpenter and cabinet maker), always played great records at home after work.  Some, forever engraved in his memory, include Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature with Tata Quines and Cachao (Israel Lopez), Richard Wagner, Olatunji, Tito Puente, Little Anthony, Frank Sinatra, Cortijo, Portabales and Arsenio Rodridguez. Andre's mom, Nancy Reed-Martinez, would play Harry Belafonte,Charlie Pride, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Harry James, Gene Krupa , Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and her all-time favorites, Billy Eckstine and tangos done by  the Philharmonic. Andre's uncle, Frankie "Tito" Martinez, was a bandleader, highly respected musician, teacher and arranger.  His arrangements included charts for Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Joe Cuba and Ricardo Ray, among others.  Andre's Uncle Frankie also led his own orchestra and Latin dance bands, performing at famed Catskill hotels such as The Taft and The Raleigh in upstate New York.  He exposed Andre to the music, the business of music, and show biz in general.  He taught Andre how to play bongos and introduced him to the sounds of Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Dave Brubeck, George Benson, Mongo Santa Maria, Segovia and many others. Another of Andre's uncles, Angel "Agapito" Marrero, was a virtuoso guitar player who worked with Tito Quizar and Xavier Cugat to name a few, and also led his own orchestra for many years.  Uncle Angle was a gentle giant who would sometimes let Andre (at age 12) play bongos with the band.  When Angel died, it was announced on radio stations all across Puerto Rico. As a child, Andre' was the errand boy at home rehearsals where he would watch and learn the ropes from an incredible lineup of musicians.  He would pick up the bands tuxedos, help with equipment and prepare meals for the band during rehearsals. Andre grew up in a diverse neighborhood, a lifestyle he deeply appreciates because it gave him the opportunity to come into contact with and learn various types of music from around the globe.  He believes it is important to incorporate all of these rhythms into his music. From 1967 to 1969,  Andre was part of Specially Gifted Children, a class at IS 293 in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.  Teacher, Fred Silverman, exposes Andre to jazz and classical music, causing him to switch from baritone sax to timpani's. In 1969 Andre was taken to the Downbeat Jazz Club in NYC by Marianne McPartland to see Buddy Rich perform, a major influence in his life to this day.  Afterwards, he had the opportunity to meet and watch Leonard Bernstien and the New York Philharmonic practice, visit the dressing and costume rooms of Beverly Sills and other Met opera stars, and view set designs and stage setups for countless performances.  In 1970, Andre attended John Jay High School and was a member of Arista, playing saxophone in the high school band.  During this time he meets longtime friend, Dr. David Martinez Perez, who would later make Folkway documentary recordings with Dr. Verna Gillis, along wi th his brothers, Raymond and Moses.  Together, Andre and David embarked on a quest for the knowledge of world music, listening to and practicing music from Africa, Haiti, Santo Domingo, India, Brazil, Bali, etc. In 1974, Andre enrolled at Brooklyn College majoring in economics.  Not long afterwards, he makes the difficult decision to leave school in order to pursue his dream of playing. During these early years, Andre pursues international percussion and drumming, continuing his musical education privately.  This leads to a time of intense learning with great musician and drum teacher, Beaver Harris; Brazilian music studies with the masters Dom Um Romao, Gilhermo Franco and Don Juares; Latin percussion with Gene Golden, Frankie Malabe, Jerry Gonzalez, Tommy Lopez and Jackie Masonet; African drumming with Chief Bey. Santero; Palo music with Pedro Morejon; fusion drumming with Michael Nararda Walden; modern drumming and reading with Rick Kravitz, founder of Drummers Collective; rock drumming with Tony "Harlot" D'Ambra; and countless others by attending their performances. In 1981, Andre co-leads and performs with Pie De Boi at major clubs, and heads up the first Halloween Parade (NYC) in 1981 to a crowd of 100,000.  The group receives major reviews in magazines such as Andy Warhol Interview and Machete from Brazil. Andre works for Desi Arnez along side Miami Sound Machine with Samba Spaceship at the famous "Calle Ocho Festival" in Miami.  The show concludes with an encore at the Orange Bowl in front of 30,000 wild fans. Andre becomes a music director and plays percussion on NBC television, as well as performing for former President Jimmy Carter with the Shaheed Bhagdat Singh Punjab Folkdance Company.  He also plays percussion with James Jabboware and the Me We & Them Big Band. From 1981-1992, Andre joins the Cecil Taylor Unit and plays over a hundred shows, performing at various major festivals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan and South America, including the New England Foundation for the Arts "Structolite Tour" Concert Series, the "Chicago Jazz Festival" and the "Art Park Jazz Festival" in Niagara Falls, NY.  New York City performances include concerts at the Knitting Factory, Blue Note, Lush Life, Village Vanguard, Sweet Basils, Irving Plaza and Condons, to name a few. Together with Taylor, they spend countless hours working on musical ideas and the reconstruction of show formats and presentations.  Being under the tutelage and encouragement of Mr. Taylor will give Andre the ammunition he'll need when leading the future orchestra, Earth People.  In 1995, Andre meets songwriter, Dan Gaydos and singer, Dean Curtis.  For the next five years, as Vibes A Fit, they write, perform and produce two beautifully melodic rock albums.  During this time, Andre meets Doug Principato and Jason Candler whom together, will soon become the founding members of Earth People. In 2000, Andre performs with Majoun, a Moroccan/Gnawan fusion band, as well as with the Sepoy Rebellion, a group of talented, seasoned poets and thinkers.  He played with the Fat Back Band, and with tHe LaTteR.  In 2002, he begins Earth People which continues with different projects through 2003 and beyond. Andre continues to venture into many different avenues of musical exploration, now partnered with good friend, Doug Principato, guitarist extraordinaire.  Together they perform at many venues in various genres of experimental and world music, which leads to their band, Earth People.  This consortium grows with the union of saxophonist Jason Candler and longtime associates Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Karen Borca and Mark Hennen, along with new associate Francois Grillot and singer M. His major drum influences and personnel heroes include JC Heard, Tito Puente, Mongo Santa Maria, Elvin Jones, Sonny Payne, Roger Humphries, Eric Gravatt, Rufus "Speedy" Jones, Ringo, John Bonham, Bill Bruford, Al Forster, Billy Hart, Dennis Charles, Tony Oxley, Tony Williams, Gerry Brown, Terry Bozio, Cozy Cole, Cozy Powell, Simon Phillips, Louis Hayes, Rashid Bakr, Art Blakley, Max Roach, Billy Drummond and countless others. His musical influences include Cecil Taylor, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Cachao, Mongo, Tito Puente, Yes, The Beatles, King Crimson, Billie Holiday, Kool and the Gang, Marvin Gay, The Temptations, Weather Report, James Brown, Jimmy Hendrix, Los Papines, Stravinsky, Sinatra, The Who, Pink Floyd, Tito Rodridguez, Blue Magic, Stylistics, Parliament, Funkadelic, Sunny Ade, and everyone else who makes great music in any style and genre. A family man with many responsibilities, Andre is married to Lois, an accomplished jazz singer.  Together they have three children.  Tanya attends college as a business major is heart set in the business of music and works for Sony Music, Lauren attends college and is a promising designer with her own line of clothing, and Henry Jr. attends high school and is a talented basketball player.  While always making time for his music, Andre is also a master builder and contractor. He plays DW "Timeless Timber" drums, Yamaha cocktail set, balafons, gongs, dumbek, talking drums and a multitude of percussion.

Recordings:
Cecil Taylor (several CDs); Vibes A Fit (several CDs, 1995-2000); Earth People: Shadow People, Amongst the Wizards, The Awakening

Unissued recordings and broadcasts:
1981-1992, numerous radio and TV broadcasts and concert tapes with Cecil Taylor; 1979: Shaheed Punjab Singh - Live at Columbia University /Broadcast tape; 1980: 
Dom Um Romao - live at Staler Hilton Carnival in NY / Private tape, Roda Do Samba - live at Black Bean Studios /Private tapes, El Monte - live at Columbia University / Broadcast tape /private tape, El Monte - live at the Door NYC un-issued tape, El Monte - live at Nuyorican Cafe - Broadcast tape /private tape, James Jabbo Ware Big Band at Black Bean studios / private tape; 1981: Afrikan Woodwind Society & Wali Yaya /Live TV Broadcast; 1982: DeeDee Sharp - live at Ripley's Phili Pa./Private tape, Samba Spaceship - live at the Miami Orange Bowl / Broadcast event, Jeanete Braziera & Samba Spaceshp - live at Town Hall NYC /Live Broadcast; 1985: Something Fresh - (unissued /private) (Roy Campbell, Andre Martinez, Ernesto Hollman, Wayne Horowitz); 1995-2000: Vibes A Fit / Eureka Joes / private video; 2001: "Smithmosphere" from ctv show Metro Scene, grand pepper & Andre' Martinez / broadcast video, Earth People Live at the Bunker Annex /Knitting Factory 1 / private CD, Earth People Live at the Bunker Annex/ Knitting Factory 2 / private CD, On Davis / Cable Show in Brooklyn NY; 2002: Earth People & evolverov Live at the Tonic / private tape/CD, Earth People / Latter - Aural Barbacoa - Live at the Tonic / private tape/CD, The Latter - Aural Barbacoa / at ABC NO Rio / private tape/CD, Earth People - Live at Lovesphere / private tape/CD, Andre Martinez / Grandpepper of Reality / DJ Firehorse / Live at the Anarchist Ball / private tape/CD, Earth People / Raga Suites in earth time - Loho studios 3/02 private tape, Earth People / Raga Suites / Live at ABC No Rio / private tape/CD 

Videos:
Earth People:  Waking the Living with Special Edition DVD (Undivided Vision);
Earth People - Meeting of the Titans with Special Edition DVD

Contact information:
www.earthpeople.tv

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