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Mel Martin Band at Bach 8/16/09


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Mel Martin Band at Bach 8/16/09

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Mel Martin has proven to be one of the most versatile and creative musicians to emerge from the San Francisco Bay Area. His virtuosic abilities on woodwinds combined with his vast range of experience has brought him to a position of pre-eminence as one of the most inventive and innovative of performers. His unique abilities as an improviser, arranger and composer have made him a favorite of such greats as Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, and many others.

His work as a leader has been documented on several brilliant recordings with the groups Listen, Featuring Mel Martin and his current band Bebop & Beyond as well as his fine recordings of the music of Benny Carter, Mel Martin Plays Benny Carter and the recent Jazzed Media releases Just Friends by The Mel Martin/Benny Carter Quintet and Where The Warm Winds Blow by the Mel Martin Band. He has applied these talents to a wide variety of performing and recording situations including Santana, Azteca, Mongo Santamaria, Boz Scaggs, Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, Denny Zeitlin, Hubert Laws, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, B.B. King, Billy Cobham, Freddy Cole, and the Afro Blue Band as well as a multitude of independent studio projects. In performance Mel displays a rare combination of fiery soloing abilities and telepathic communication and projects a joyously spirited vibrancy to his audiences.

Brad Buethe is a twenty-five year veteran of the San Francisco and New York jazz scenes. In 1971, at age eighteen, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, attending UC Berkeley. Two years later he became a full time musician and joined Bill Bell's group, backing such greats as Jon Hendricks, Joe Williams, and John Handy. Brad also played with the San Francisco Jazz All-Stars and was a member of Mark Levine's quintet. Moving to New York City in 1982, he worked with Jack McDuff and Jaki Byard. In New York he also led a quintet of impressive jazz artists: Joe Levano, Danny Hayes, Mike Clark and Kip Reed. Brad returned to San Francisco in 1989, and since has been performing at the area's main jazz venues, as well as periodically touring abroad.

Robb Fisher- Robb grew up in Los Angeles, the son of a jazz musician who played in and directed an Air Force Band throughout World War II, arranged for the Dorsey brothers, and hosted a jazz show on KPFK. In 1967, Robb moved to San Francisco where he played his first gigs. For over seven years, he toured and recorded with the late, great Cal Tjader, anchoring Cal's Grammy Award winning album, "La Onda Va Bien" and Grammy Nominee album, "Gozame Pero Ya." He has recorded or worked extensively with such luminaries as Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Tania Maria, Carmen McRae, Anita O'Day, Poncho Sanchez and Clare Fischer. Along with his bass work, two of his compositions are featured on the Monarch CD entitled, "The Nighthawks Featuring Eddie Marshall," released in 1996. Rob recently performed at the San Francisco Jazz Festival with Mel Martin's Bebop and Beyond with Bobby Watson, Jack Walrath, and Wynard Harper. He also performs locally with the group XNY that includes Rob Schneiderman and Ron Marabuto. He is also a member of the Mel Martin  All-Star Big Band and the Tenor Conclave.

Jeff Marrs - Jeff Marrs has a masters degree in performance and composition from the prestigious New England Conservatory where he worked with great trombonist/composer/arranger/band leader Bob Brookmeyer. Since returning to the bay area last year Jeff has become one of the most in demand drummers in town. He has performed with Blue Note recording artist Stephon Harris, Marcus shelby, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Mark Levine, Matt Clark, Michael Bluestein, The Collective West Orchestra, Dave Mac Nab, Art Hirahara, Mike Zilber and many other local greats. He is a current member of the Marcus Shelby Orchestra and the Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee group. 

Don Friedman - Don Friedman was born May 4, 1935, in San Francisco. His parents loved classical music and they owned a piano. Under their guidance, Don started playing at age four. He began lessons at five with a private teacher named Katherine Swint. Though he had no exposure to jazz at this time Don taught himself to improvise. When he was 15, his family moved to the San Fernando Valley in Greater Los Angeles. Two years later he began to head regularly for the Hollywood Palladium to hear the bands of Les Brown, Stan Kenton and Billy May. That fueled his love for jazz. Kenton soloists Lee Konitz, Conte Condoli, and Frank Rossolino inspired Don as he transformed his focus from classical music to jazz. Don studied jazz at Los Angeles City College and also on his own by playing along with records of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. By the mid 1950s L.A. was the capital of West Coast Jazz and Don was becoming part of it as he worked around town with groups that included Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, and Scott LaFaro. At the same time, he displayed his hard bop credentials by gigging with Dexter Gordon. He made his first records as a sideman with trumpeters Hank DeMano and Jack Millman. In 1956 Buddy DeFranco hired him for a tour that included gigs at New York’s Birdland and Basin Street.Heis currently one of the most in demand pianists in New Yor.

John Santos - is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, and has earned much respect and recognition as an educator, composer, and record and event producer. He has performed, recorded and studied with acknowledged masters of the Afro-Latin and Jazz idioms such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie and Bebop and Beyond , Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Lazaro Ros, Armando Peraza, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Orestes Vilató, Rene López, Max Roach, Batacumbele, Steve Turre, John Faddis, Nestor Torres and Chocolate Armenteros. This experience has provided a solid foundation for Mr. Santos’ current ground breaking work in bringing together styles, rhythms, concepts and artists from different generations. Born in San Francisco, California, November l, l955, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way. His studies of Afro-Latin music have included several trips to New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Colombia.

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