The Pedrito Martinez Group, led by band’s namesake Cuban-born percussionist, has signed with Motéma Music. Their debut, eponymously titled studio disc, produced by Martinez and drumming great Steve Gadd, will drop in early October.
The four members of the Martinez Group met and began playing together at the Guantanamera restaurant in New York City five years ago. Martinez has performed on more than 100 recordings, including Eddie Palmieri and Bryan Lynch’s 2010 Grammy-winner Sympatico. He was also a member of the Grammy-nominated fusion band Yerba Buena, and he’s played with Sting, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis and many others.
Co-featured in the Pedrito Martinez Group, which melds Afro-Cuban music with influences from funk, blues and soul music, is Cuban pianist and vocalist Ariacne Trujillo, who has worked with Paquito D’Rivera, and Paul Simon. Jhair Sala, Martinez’s long-time collaborator on percussion, and electric bassist Alvaro Benavides round out the band. Joining the group as guests on the album will be Steve Gadd, Wynton Marsalis and John Scofield, the last of whom delivers a guitar solo on the band’s treatment of bluesman Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues.” Martinez and Trujillo share lead-vocal duties throughout.
“We are very happy to sign the Pedrito Martinez Group in our 10th anniversary year,” says Motéma Music president Jana Herzen. “They represent everything that Motéma Music is about: breathtaking virtuosity, seamless ensemble work, complete originality and deep spirituality—and you won’t find a more heartfelt and uplifting group anywhere on the planet.”