From: CA, United States
Genre: Jazz, Christian/Gospel
Pianist Jim Martinez, from Sacramento, California, began his musical career at the age of four, receiving 18 years of classical training. He has amassed a list of musical accomplishments encompassing nearly all styles of music.
Martinez, 47, is a Steinway Artist and has performed or recorded with Jazz notables Lionel Hampton, the Stan Kenton Alumni, Christian McBride, Russell Malone, Roy Hargrove, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Benny Golson and Ed Thigpen, the first drummer for the famous Oscar Peterson Trio. Jim has also performed with the Sacramento Symphony and toured as a featured guest with the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band from Travis AFB (CA).
Martinez opened for All-Star Night 13 straight years at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. Other highlights of venues and events include the Bix Biederbecke Festival (Davenport, IA), the Harvest Jazz and Blues in New Brunswick, Canada, the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California, St Peter’s Church in New York City and The Basement Jazz Club in Sydney, Australia. He recently worked as pianist and musical director for Joan Rivers and Bob Newhart at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe, NV.
Martinez gained international exposure through his 'Echoes of Oscar Peterson', which featured Martinez playing his own transcriptions of Peterson's performances. In November 1998, Ed Thigpen traveled from Denmark to join Jim in a tribute to Art Tatum & Oscar Peterson. They also did a similar tribute together in 1991.
Jim has twelve CD's to his credit. Four of these recordings are “Jazz Praise”, his arrangements of church hymns as straight-ahead Jazz. His latest CD’s are "Jazz Praise IV: He Keeps Me Swingin'" and “A Classical and Jazz Tribute to Edvard Grieg”. These recordings are available through his own music label, Invisible Touch Music and at www.jimmartinez.com; also via iTunes and other online stores.
Martinez creatively combines hymns and Jazz standards: “Amazing Grace” ala Dave Brubeck’s ”Take Five”, “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord” ala Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” and “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” ala Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy”. These projects were recorded at some of the finest recording studios in the country: Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA, Avatar Studios in NYC and the famous Capitol Studios in Hollywood.
Jim recently sold his company, Invisible Touch Music Software, which was founded in 1989. The company arranged and recorded MIDI files for all digital and acoustic player-pianos. One of the highlights was a three year agreement giving exclusive international distribution rights to Warner Brothers Publications.
Martinez is the Minister of Music at River Valley Church in Rancho Cordova, CA. He is a recording artist for PianoDisc Player Systems and QRS Music.
Jim lives in Rocklin, CA (near Sacramento) with his wife, Suzy, and two sons, James and Ben. ***