Pedrito Martinez Group
“Pedrito Martinez… is a source of rhythmic delight and inspiration… an incomparable performer… a traditional Afro-Cuban music superstar.” – The New York Times
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martínez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973 in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood, where rumba is played all day long, and began his musical career at the age of 11, with a foundation in the rumba and Afro Cuban Yoruba traditions.
Since settling in New York City in the fall of 1998, Pedrito has recorded or performed with Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Bruce Springsteen, Ruben Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Dave Matthews, and Sting, and has contributed to over 75 albums.
A consummate master of Afro-Cuban folkloric music and the batá drum, he is also the world’s first-call rumbero—playing, singing, and dancing with dozens of Cuban rumba groups.
Pedrito 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 in the mid- to late-90’s.
Mr. Martínez’s career as a leader began in 2005 with the formation in NYC of the The Pedrito Martínez Group. He has recorded four solo albums, the first one of which was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 and was chosen among NPR’s Favorite Albums for 2013 and The Boston Globe Critics Top Ten Albums of the same year.
In February of 2019, Pedrito and Cuban pianist, Alfredo Rodriguez, released a duo album called Duologue to critical acclaim. Quincy Jones was executive producer.
In July 2019 Pedrito and Eric Clapton recorded a newly arranged version of Clapton’s song, “My Father’s Eyes,” for a Pedrito Martínez album, called Acertijos (Riddles), which was released in early 2021. The two performed the song together at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in Dallas, Texas.
Pedrito was involved through 2020 in streamed projects including Play On for CBS TV with Jon Batiste, and the NEA Awards at SF Jazz. And he was named, for the seventh time in nine years, Jazz Percussionist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.
In 2021, Pedrito recorded two singles and performed with Cuban superstar, Camila Cabello. He was awarded Percussionist of The Year by JazzTimes Magazine Critics Poll. A 2021 album called Acertijos (Riddles), featuring primarily original compositions, and special guests, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Eric Clapton, and Issac Delgado, was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical Album of 2021.
Highlights for 2022 have so far been the release of a new single called “El Jicamo Me Hablo,” being part of International Jazz Day 2022, again being named Jazz Percussionist of The Year by Jazz Journalists Association, a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall (Zankel), and getting back to touring with his quintet!
Pedrito Martínez uses LP Percussion, A. Zildjian Cymbals, DW Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo drumheads, Earthworks mics and Zoom Recorders.