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.
52, is a Steinway Pianos Artist
and has performed or recorded with Jazz notables Lionel
Hampton, the Stan Kenton Alumni, Christian
McBride, Russell Malone, Roy
Hargrove, Cheryl Bentyne (Manhattan Transfer), the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Benny
Golson and Ed Thigpen, the first
drummer for the famous Oscar Peterson Trio. Jim has also
performed with various symphony orchestras and toured as a featured
guest with the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band from
Travis AFB (CA). He recently worked as pianist and musical director for Joan
Rivers and Bob Newhart at Harrah's
in Lake Tahoe, NV.
For thirteen straight years, Martinez
opened All-Star Night at the Lionel
Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. He has performed internationally as a leader, including Yoshi’s San Francisco, Bix Biederbecke
Festival (Davenport, IA), the Harvest Jazz
and Blues in New Brunswick, Canada, St Peter’s
Church in New York City and The
Basement Jazz Club in Sydney, Australia.
gained international exposure through his 'Echoes
of Oscar Peterson', which featured Martinez playing
some 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.
As a leader, Jim
has thirteen CD's to his credit. His most recent project, Good Grief! It’s Still Jim Martinez, A Tribute to Vince Guaraldi, Charles Schulz, & Peanuts, peaked at #10 on the national RMR Jazz charts, and was on the JazzWeek charts a total of 26 weeks. Eight of the fifteen tracks were written by Martinez, in the style of Guaraldi. Additionally, Schulz’ company granted Jim permission to use Snoopy’s image on the CD cover and within.
Jim has been performing his live annual holiday concert, A Charlie Brown Christmas around the U.S. with his quartet for over 20 years. But now, his show is being featured with Pops symphony orchestras around the US from California to Florida.
Four of Martinez's other recordings are Jazz Praise, his arrangements of church hymns as straight-ahead Jazz. His most recent Jazz Praise is the fouth in the series: He Keeps Me Swingin', featuring guests Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, and many others. All of Jim's recordings are produced through his own music label, Invisible Touch Music and are availble at JimMartinez.com, iTunes and most 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.
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
In the church, Martinez has been served as
Minister of Music, worship leader, and principle organist.
Martinez is also a concert promoter, graphic & web designer, and recently completed his first music book of jazz piano hymn
arrangements for Hope Publishing in Chicago. Along with being a Steinway Pianos Performing
Artist, he is also a recording artist for PianoDisc Player
Systems and QRS Music.
lives in Rocklin, CA (near Sacramento) with his wife, Suzy,
and two sons, James and Ben. ***