The paragon that is Pedrito Martinez has a rather mellow fall 2023 touring schedule, atypical for the normally busy Cuban percussionist. But he has been sure to include a stop in Jacksonville
Last here in 2014 for the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and a subsequent pandemic-disrupted show in 2020 that never was, the Havana-born-and-bred talent will be at The Ritz Theatre and Museum on Friday October 6, 2023.
Known the world over for working alongside giants of jazz, Latin music and rock, including Wynton Marsalis, Quincy Jones, Paquito D’Rivera, Ruben Blades and Eric Clapton, Martinez epitomizes living legend status. He’s contributed percussion and/or production to over 75 albums and garnered two Grammy nominations, so far.
His draw continues to be an effortless mastery of complex Cuban and Latin rhythms, which he delivers while singing and chanting, as well. He surrounds himself with all ilk of hand percussions: congas, batá (the ceremonial drum of Yoruba traditions), cajón, cymbals. Martinez’s intricate rhythmic patterns are more often the centerpiece of his live performances, yet he is astute enough to know when to lay back and be the backbone of the music.
That music is an amalgamation of the artists he’s had the pleasure of working with. It includes rumba, son montuno, rock, jazz and hip hop. Yes, his music is most easily classified as Latin Jazz, but Martinez’s repertoire is, like many modern-day virtuosos, more varied and wider than that label. Acertijos, which translates in English to ‘Riddles’, is the latest offering from Martinez. The 2021 full length finds him singing in English and Spanish and mixing all the aforementioned genres with his signature Afro-Cuban roots.
Martinez is a sizzling performer and Friday night at the Ritz Theatre and Museum is sure to be a proverbial four-alarm blaze of rhythm and groove.
Pedrito Martinez performs at the Ritz Theatre and Museum on Friday, October 6. Tickets here.