Pedrito Martinez Group

Pedrito Martinez will also perform on Friday Night September 15 in the Arena with the Kenny Barron Trio's Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and on Sunday evening, September 17 in the Arena with Angélique Kidjo's Tribute to Salsa.

Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973. He began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines and Yoruba Andabo.

Since settling in New York City in the fall of 1998, Pedrito has recorded and/or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Chucho Valdez, Bruce Springsteen, James Tyalor, Issac Delgado, and Sting, and has contributed to well over 100 albums.  

A consummate master of Afro-Cuban folkloric music, he doesn’t just play the obligatory handful of standard batá rhythms—he plays the monumentally complex “Oru seco” exquisitely on each drum or on all three at once. He is also the world’s first-call rumbero—playing, singing, and dancing with dozens of groups on over 100 recordings and contributing to or appearing in several important films, including Calle 54 (2000) and Chico and Rita (2010).

Equally at home in popular music, Pedrito’s perfectly intoned tenor voice seamlessly combines popular and folkloric influences. His infectious energy, humor, charisma, and dance moves make him a formidable front man and percussionist.

Mr. Martínez was a founding member of the highly successful, Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band, Yerba Buena, with which he recorded two albums and toured the world. 

Pedrito’s career as a leader, began in 2005 with the formation in NYC of the Pedrito Martinez Group with fans that include Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Steve Gadd, Wynton Marsalis, Taj Mahal, and Quincy Jones.

Honors that Pedrito has received include the first place Thelonious Monk Award for Afro-Latin Hand Percussion (2000); The Sphinx Medal of Excellence (2014); The Jazz Journalists Association “Percussionist of the Year” (2014 and 2015); Modern Drummer Readers Poll’s #1 “Percussionist of the Year” (2014), and Downbeat magazine’s one of the “80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today” (2014).

The Pedrito Martinez Group’s Grammy-nominated, self-titled, first studio album, was released October, 2013 and features special guests, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield and Steve Gadd. The album was chosen among NPR’s Favorite Albums of 2013, NPR’s First Listen and the Boston Globe Critics Top Ten Albums of 2013.

Tracks for a new album, Habana Dreams, were recorded in Cuba in October 2015 and released in 2016 on Motema Music. Guests include, Isaac Delgado, Ruben Blades, Wynton Marsalis, Descemer Bueno, Roman Diaz, Angelique Kidjo, and Telmary Diaz.