Tenor Saxophonist Bobby Martinez debuted his new group "Latin Elation" at the opening of a new series of Latin Jazz nights hosted by a new club in Madrid called "Shaman" which will feature every Thursday night in November some of the best Latin Jazz artists in Madrid.
The regular trumpet player with Latin Elation was unable to perform this night and to take his place Bobby recruited his friend and neighbor, fellow tenor saxophonist Inoidel Gonzalez Torres, who I was delighted to see as he is one of my favorite Madrid artists. The band also includes on piano "Pepe Rivero" (whose group also will be performing later in the series) ,Tono Miguel on Contra Bass and Geovis Pico on Drums. All the band members are of Cuban extraction except the bass player who is Spanish.
Martinez was born in Philadelphia and reared in Miami. He has been playing Saxophone since he was 7 years old and his professional life in Miami included stints with "The Miami Sound Machine" and Gloria Estefan as well as backup work with a veritable Who´s Who of Latin and Jazz stars.
He is at home on the Tenor and I assume equally fluent on Flute although this night he didn´t play it. He has a relaxed, full bodied sound and a free flow of creative ideas. He is a gifted composer using a variety of musical resources and we heard his original "Tumbao de Benny , "Y En La Noche" and the very slick up tempo number "Agente Gomez". The group also performed originals by pianist Pepe Rivero : "Homanje de Thelonious Monk" and an intricate and dynamic rendition of "Tumbao in Tres". Also heard was Horace Silver´s "Nutville", a gorgeous waltz by Andy Laverne improbably titled "A Loan To Gather", and a heartbreakingly emotional rendition of Chucho Valdez´ bolero "Claudia".
Bobby Martinez feels music should be fun for the players as well as the audience. He provided a joyful night of thought provoking and sometimes explosive music. I had the feeling at the end of the show, which consisted of two well constructed sets, that the band was just getting warmed up. Bobby Martinez and his group are sure to be an important part of the vital and growing Latin Jazz scene in Madrid.