This article by Summer Dawn Hortillosa appeared in The Jersey Journal.
When some of music’s biggest talents gather at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the 57th Grammy Awards, one award hopeful will be hoping to bring home a gramophone to Union City.
The Pedrito Martinez Group, named for the Union City-based percussionist and vocalist, has received a nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for their self-titled release.
“It’s truly a great honor, a great moment in my career and in my life,” said the 41-year-old.
The group has long attracted attention for their unique sound, which fuses African and Caribbean elements.
“It’s Afro-Cuban music at its roots but it’s also got a lot of Timba–a contemporary, high-energy, style of Cuban music–in it. Plus, there are influences from African music, American R&b and jazz,” said Martinez.
Martinez has come a long way from his days in Cayo Hueso, a poor neighborhood in Havana that has birthed many great Cuban musicians.
“I learned to play just from being around the great percussion players who lived and played in the neighborhood,” said Martinez. “I never studied formally but I sure put in lots and lots of hours watching, listening, playing, and practicing the congas and also the bata drums, which are ceremonial drums and are a central part of who I am as a musician.”
Ultimately, Martinez says his music comes from the heart and soul.
“Music is pure spirituality and about communicating your feelings to other people and it makes me feel great to be able to do that,” he said. “And I hope that it makes other people feel great to hear it.”
On Sunday, Martinez and his band–percussionist Jhair Sala, bassist Alvaro Benavides and keyboardist Edgar Pantoja-Aleman (the keys were formerly played by Ariacne Trujillo)–are one of five groups hoping to snag the Latin Jazz Album award.
Also nominated are “The Latin Side of Joe Henderson” by Conrad Herwig featuring Joe Lovano, “The Offense of the Drum” by Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, “Second Half” by Emilio Solla Y La Inestable De Brooklyn and “New Throned King” by Yosvany Terry.
Regardless of whether they win, Martinez says he knows what his next musical goals are.
“I want to have the opportunity to continue developing my music in every way including studying harmony, theory and arranging, and to be able to travel more and more in order to bring my music to people all over the world.”
To learn more, visit PedritoMartinezMusic.com. The 57th annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, at 8 p.m. on CBS.
For the original report go to http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2015/02/pedrito_martinez_hopes_for_gra.html