Pedrito Martinez is a Grammy-nominated Cuban percussionist, singer and composer who is the world’s first-call Rumbero.
Pedrito and regular collaborator, Jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, play a “Yoruba Soy” concert at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 7:30pm. From $36. carnegiehall.org 🇨🇺
Alfredo Rodriguez is an international Cuban Jazz pianist who was mentored by Quincy Jones. Pedrito and Alfredo recorded an album “Duologue” together in 2019 which includes an amazing version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Quincy produced it. He produced the original too.
“Duologue” strikes a perfect balance between Alfredo’s Classical roots and Pedrito’s Folkloric traditions. That is Cuba and that is Jazz. In a way, that is America.
“Yoruba Soy” means “I am Yoruba” in Spanish. Yoruba is a beautiful and highly developed culture of Nigeria, Benin and Togo. It is the dominant African Diaspora culture across the Americas. It even enters American popular culture as Br’er Rabbit, many American food traditions, and more. Most Americans don’t understand how African we really are. Yoruba somos.
Pedrito Martinez is The Rumba
When you want a Cuban party, a celebration with the ancestors and drumming, singing, and dancing, you call Pedrito. He works with artists like Eric Clapton and Camila Cabello. Celebrities often appear at his shows and it’s been that way for years. He turned a house gig at a Cuban restaurant in Manhattan into a regular stop for Pop music royalty from around the world.
Pedrito was born in Havana, Cuba September 12, 1973. He began singing and drumming as a child, and moved to New York City in 1998. Since then, Pedrito has played with a pantheon of Latin, Jazz, and Pop stars. He was a co-founder of Grammy-nominated Latin fusion band Yerba Buena, and has played in several movies including the seminal Latin jazz film “Calle 54.”
A Cuban party can be just for fun, or a more serious spiritual moment. Pedrito can take you to either place. His music comes from the Rumba tradition, but is more accurately described as Timba, contemporary Cuban dance music. Whatever you call it, Pedrito Martinez is a real force of nature and something you should experience at least once in your New York life.
Pedrito’s Rumba is the sound of the Rumba heartland in Matanzas, Cuba. It’s not the Rumba of the Palladium Ballroom (1946-1966) or ballroom dancing. Cuban Rumba is one of the roots of most Latin music including Salsa, but it is distinct.
When you listen to Pedrito, you will notice the difference right away. Most of us haven’t heard anything like this. He may stir something deep inside you, perhaps something you didn’t even know you had. After all, the entire human race is from Africa and regardless of the language we speak, everyone understands the drum. [Editor Keith: It’s a long story, but Pedrito’s drumming changed my life.]
You can’t sit still when Pedrito plays. He’s a very good singer and dancer too.
Recent New York Shows
Pedrito Martinez Group plays Cuban Timba at Drom in the East Village on Thu, Nov 18 at 8pm (7pm doors). Tickets $30. 🇨🇺
Pedrito Martinez Group plays Cuban Timba for dancing at House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn on Thu, Nov 11 at 7pm. From $25. houseofyes.org 🇨🇺
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 ~ Pedrito returns to the live New York stage at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village at 7:30pm. Doors at 6pm. From $30. 🇨🇺
Thursday, March 19 & 26, 2020 ~ Pedrito plays Ginny’s Supper Club at the Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC at 7 and 9pm. From $15
February 21-22, 2020 ~ Pedrito joins Herlin Riley Presents: Sounds of Cuba and New Orleans in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center at 7pm & 9:30pm. $105
Friday, January 10, 2020 ~ Pedrito plays Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side at 9:30pm. From $18
Friday, November 15, 2019 ~ Pedrito plays Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan’s Upper East Side (just south of El Barrio, East Harlem) at 7:30pm. From $31.50
Thu, February 28, 2019 ~ Pedrito joins the Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez to play their album ‘Duologue’ at the Jazz Standard in NoMad, Manhattan, Thursday-Sunday, February 28 – March 3, 2019 at 7:30 & 9:30pm. $30
Pedrito plays Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Saturday – Sunday, January 13 – 14, 2018 at 7:30 & 9:30 pm.
Pedrito plays a duo with Cuban Jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Thursday – Friday, January 11 – 12, 2018 at 7:30 & 9:30 pm.
Pedrito joins the all-star ensemble Nuevo Jazz Latino in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center Friday-Saturday, November 3-4, 2017.
Pedrito plays a free concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on February 24, 2017.
Pedrito joins Carlos Henriquez for “The Latin Side of Dizzy” in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 27-28, 2017 with shows at 7 & 9:30 pm
Salsa singer Isaac Delgado (from NG La Banda) joined the band for the “Habana Dreams” pre-release concert at Symphony Space on May 8, 2016.
The Pedrito Martinez Group played Carnegie Hall on Friday, February 19, 2016. It was an amazing show. Pedrito invited people to dance with him on stage. Security didn’t like it, but dancing on stage at Carnegie Hall was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Liner Notes
Pedrito was Subrosa’s artist-in-residence from its opening in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District until the nightclub closed in May 2017.
Pedrito Martinez Albums
Pedrito often plays as a sideman, but these are his own albums.
“Riddles” tells Pedrito’s story figuring out life as an artist in New York and Cuba. African Diaspora drumming is often sacred. In this album, Pedrito is more open about his spiritual life in the Yoruba traditions.
The great mysteries are often taught in riddles. You have to find the answer yourself. Afro-Caribbean traditions are also often presented in code. If you know, then you know. How cool. If you don’t, it’s just a pretty song. That’s cool too.
Pedrito’s music brings together Yoruba Africa, Cuban Rumba, New Orleans Jazz and Cuban Timba (the next phase of Cuban dance music after the 1950s Cuban dance music that became Salsa). Acertijos plays with the forces of nature, and that is something everyone can understand.
The Pedrito Martinez Group released their second album Habana Dreams (Motema Music) in the Spring of 2016.
The band’s first self-titled album was widely recognized and nominated for a “Best Latin Jazz Album” Grammy.
For more information, visit www.pedritomartinezmusic.com