Mel Martin and the Benny Carter Tribute Band
Mel Martin, saxophones and flute; Andrew Speight, alto saxophone; Jackie
Ryan, vocals; Don Friedman, piano; Rob Fisher, bass; Jeff Marrs, drums
Sunday, July 13 | 2:30 pm | Dinkelspiel Auditorium
Tickets: $28 general | $14 students
By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford
For more information, go to our Ticketing
“Mr. Martin displays
a dazzling technique and an awesome command of jazz harmony. His
approach to playing is unique. He doesn’t sound like anyone
else.” – Saxophone Journal
Among the Dukes, Earls, and Counts of jazz royalty, Benny Carter was
known as the King. A master of both the alto saxophone and the trumpet,
he was also a prolific composer, arranger, and bandleader. He passed
away in 2003, but his spirit lives on in the music of his erstwhile student
Mel Martin. Martin is a Bay Area jazz institution, known for his woodwind
virtuosity and his teaching. Martin’s extensive collaborations
with Carter include tours of Japan with the Benny Carter Orchestra, and
a recording project featuring Carter playing his own compositions with
Mel’s group. For a loving centennial tribute in 2007, Martin assembled
a stellar combo of musicians, all of whom had been deeply touched by
Carter. The project was so successful that Martin has made the tribute
band an ongoing project, and they continue to bring the magical music
of Benny Carter to appreciative audiences everywhere, including engagements
at Yoshi’s, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center, and
the Hollywood Bowl.
The Genius of Benny Carter
Speaker: Sonny Buxton
1:30 pm, free with concert ticket
Mel Martin web site
What is the first recording you remember hearing as a child?
First jazz recording was Benny Goodman at Carnegie hall. Before
that, various classical artists.
Who is your favorite jazz musician under the age of 30?
Zachary Cosmo Breindel, 3 1/2, my grandson. Truly amazing!
What job would you have if
you weren’t a jazz musician?
What’s the strangest experience you’ve
ever had on the bandstand?
Playing a rock festival (The Festival of Life) with Boz Scaggs in
Baton Rouge where people were throwing things at the bandstand
which was shaking, some people died, some people were born and
the Louisiana State troopers were searching every car on the way
out of the festival grounds. (A lot of hashish got eaten that day).
Also, playing a rock festival in Detroit where the band got dosed
and there was a race riot.
What’s your favorite
What’s the most exotic place you’ve
traveled to as a musician?
What’s the last book you’ve
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi.
If you could play with any other musician, living
or dead (with whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
Count Basie. I heard him as a teenager. I did get to play with the
Basie legacy band a few years ago.
What’s your favorite tune?
Souvenir by Benny Carter. Also, Where the Warm Winds Blow also
by Benny Carter.
What’s your favorite
Yoshi’s and Dizzy’s.
Who is your greatest musical influence?
Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Bartok, Mozart, Bird, Miles, Thelonious
Monk, John Coltrane.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could
only have three recordings with you, what would they be?
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis, Art Tatum w/ Benny Carter and Thelonious
Monk and John Coltrane at Town Hall.
How much do you practice each week?
What hobbies do you have?
If you could be any other type of artist other than a jazz musician,
what would you be and why?
Photographer, film director.
Do you have a favorite music-related joke (that
can be told in mixed company!)?
World’s shortest blues - “I Didn’t Wake Up This Morning!” (James
When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances
or events led to your becoming a professional musician?
Mom started me on piano at 5. Played woodwinds professionally
from the age of 14. Failed miserably at selling children’s shoes
If you were to describe your music as a color, what color would it
be and why?
I would describe my music as containing all of the colors of the
rainbow because my goal is to make it multi-dimensional.