Saxophonist, singer, and songwriter James Martin is an accomplished and award-winning solo artist, band member and touring musician whose 17-year career has brought him international acclaim several times over.
Beginning his career at the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts where he became a founding member of classmate Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews’ Orleans Avenue alongside Jon Batiste, Martin earned a full scholarship to Loyola University with a double major in Jazz Saxophone and Music Industries. During his seven-year tenure with Orleans Avenue, he and the band released three albums, some of which included original music contributed by Martin.
Martin began his solo career in 2008, releasing original music with his own band, Happy Jack Frequency. Most recently, his solo work with the James Martin Band has led him to performances at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival; the Copenhagen Jazz Festival; the Spiagge Soul Festival south of Venice, Italy; the New Orleans Jazz Festival in Tel Aviv; Fort L’Ecluse Jazz Festival in southern France; the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland; as well as regular performances at renowned New Orleans venues including Tipitina’s, The Spotted Cat Music Club and Carousel Lounge. The James Martin Band’s third album arrives October 2019.
Martin has been an integral member of several other bands, including the award-winning Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes, the Billboard charting Glen David Andrews Band and Soul Brass Band. With the globally touring Soul Brass Band, Martin serves as a writer, arranger and singer in addition to instrumentalist. The band released Levels, produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman, in early 2019. Along with Soul Brass Band co-founder Derrick Freeman, Martin graced the cover of OffBeat Magazine in 2018 and has been nominated Best Saxophonist at OffBeat’s Best of the Beat Music Awards several times.
In addition to performances and recordings with Ivan Neville, Flowtribe, Amanda Shaw, James Andrews and many other prominent musicians, Martin contributes original music to CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans” and has been heard on Anthony Bourdain’s “Raw Craft,” as well as on Abu Dhabi TV. On Abu Dhabi TV, Martin hosted Middle Eastern composer Faisal al Saari in New Orleans, where the pair collaborated in a recording studio and live performance. Martin appeared on the award-winning HBO series about post-Katrina New Orleans, “Treme.” He earned nationwide recognition for his 2011 appearance alongside acclaimed fiddler Amanda Shaw during the intro segment for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
Martin also works as an instructor for incarcerated youths through the prestigious Preservation Hall Foundation.
Biography written by Amanda Mester
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