Billy Martin was born in NYC in 1963 to a Radio City Rockette and a concert violinist. At age 17, he devoted himself to music and dove into Manhattan’s thriving, eclectic musical landscape. In the years to follow, he honed his craft everywhere from Broadway orchestra pits to Brazilian nightclubs and burgeoning underground performance spaces.
From the roots of the downtown scene he emerged with Medeski Martin and Wood, bridging the harmonic complexity of jazz, the conversational fluency of free improvisation, and the groove and swagger of classic R&B and funk. A series of albums and high-profile collaborations with John Scofield, John Zorn, iggy Pop, Natalie Merchant, and others, brought the band international acclaim.
Martin has relentlessly pursued diverse musical contexts, from free improvisation to chamber compositions to film scores. Much of his work is available via his Amulet Records label, which recently released the Road to Jajouka—a series of collaborations (produced by Martin) between the Master Musicians of Jajouka and such artists as Ornette Coleman, Flea, Marc Ribot, John Zorn, Lee Ranaldo, Bill Laswell, Mickey Hart, MMW and more.
Martin is also an accomplished filmmaker and visual artist, whose work has been exhibited in solo and group installations around the world including 2014’s Cartegena de indias Bienal in Colombia and the Drawing Sound series at The Drawing Center in NYC (2015)
What began for Martin as tireless enthusiasm for music, percussion, and improvisation evolved into a wide ranging search for the roots of inspiration. Among the most valuable undertakings in this ongoing exploration is teaching. “When I teach,” he explains, “I learn and discover methods to build my vocabulary and style, and I love to help others do the same”
His experiences as a teacher, student, and musician led him to create and direct Life on Drums, a cinematic exploration of percussion and the creative process with his childhood drum instructor, Allen Herman.
Martin has published three books:
- Riddim (2006): Claves of African Origin
- Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast (2011): A folio of thirteen miniature scores to facilitate collective improvisation.
- Wandering (2014) A compilation of 22 short essays on his journey as a creative drummer.
Since arriving in the U.S. from his native Brazil, percussionist, composer and bandleader Cyro Baptista has emerged as one of the premier percussionists in the world, bringing his unique charm and intense rhythmic drive to countless stages, performing on numerous Grammy-winning recordings, and collaborating with myriad luminaries such as Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, John Zorn, Sting, Trey Anastasio(Phish), Yo-Yo-Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Medeski Martin & Wood and many others.
Described by Thom Jurek of All Music as “simply one of the most limitless musicians we have,” Baptista’s many honors include DownBeat Critics Poll Percussionist of the Year in 2013 and 2011, Jazz Journalists Association Percussionist of the Year in 2007 and 2010, Drum Magazine Percussionist of the Year in 2003 and 2004, and US Artists Walker Fellow in 2009/10.Baptista leads four different ensembles. He has released ten albums and tours continuously throughout the world. He conducts master classes at major musical institutions, such as Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music, Mannes College of Music, The New School, New World Symphony Orchestra, Kimmel Center Jazz Camp, and K-12 schools across the country.
Baptista has a great interest in education and spreading his knowledge, especially to underserved factions of society through his “Sound of Community” initiative.
WHO IS CYRO? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it7YC9glH3g&feature=youtu.be
MMW with CYRO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqM5NICzJDY
Still in his early thirties, drummer/composer Mark Guiliana, is at the forefront of top drummers in the world for creating an entirely new vernacular on the instrument – blending virtuosic skills on acoustic drums alongside electronic elements and processing. The New York Times recognized Guiliana as “a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed.” Guiliana’s prowess, conceptual approach and unmistakable sound were recently featured in Blackstar, the critically and commercially acclaimed final studio recording from the late David Bowie. Over the past decade, Guiliana has recorded and toured around the world with artists including Brad Mehldau, Meshell Ndegeocello, Gretchen Parlato, John Scofield, Avishai Cohen (bass), Matisyahu, Lionel Loueke, and his own groups, Beat Music and the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet.
Time Out London sums him up perfectly: “What happens when you add hard bop drum masters Elvin Jones and Art Blakey to a 1980s Roland 808 drum machine, divide the result by J Dilla and then multiply to the power of Squarepusher? Answer: Mark Guiliana