Returning home to Cuba to record for the first time, Pedrito Martinez, the Afro-Cuban percussion virtuoso, has created a long-held dream album with his Grammy-nominated namesake outfit, The Pedrito Martinez Group. The appropriately titled “Habana Dreams” (released by Motema Music) finds Martinez sharing distinctly Cuban/Yoruban roots-infused songs that are presented with the gusto and joy that the Pedrito Martinez Group has become famous for.
The album was recorded in Cuba’s most historic studio - Areíto/EGREM (formerly Panart) - the studio which gave birth to much of the music that still influences Pedrito to this day. For additional inspiration, the album finds the band collaborating with family members and some of Cuba’s best musicians.
The release features collaborations with Cuban salsa master Issac Delgado, and a recording reunion with Pedrito’s past Yerba Buena bandmate, and now chart-topping songwriter, Descemer Bueno. It also includes the first single “Compa Galletano” - with a vocal performance from Rubén Blades (listen to the single above).
Pedrito Martinez has long been one of the most respected “musician’s-musicians” in New York City, sought out by other artists regardless of language or genre for recording sessions, or just to discreetly take-in an evening of percussion mastery, from intimate venues to the city’s most revered performance spaces including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973 and was raised in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana and began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines and Yoruba Andabo.
His career as a leader began in 2005 with the formation in NYC of the The Pedrito Martinez Group. The band's Grammy-nominated first studio album, was released October, 2013 and features special guests, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield and Steve Gadd. The album was chosen among NPR’s Favorite Albums of 2013 and The Boston Globe Critics Top Ten Albums of 2013.
Since settling in New York City in the fall of 1998, Pedrito has recorded or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Bruce Springsteen and Sting and has contributed to well 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 groups and contributing to or appearing in several important films, including Calle 54 (2000) and Chico and Rita (2010).
Mr. Martinez was also a founding member of the highly successful, Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band, Yerba Buena, with which he recorded two albums and toured the world.
More Information about Habana Dreams and The Pedrito Martinez Group can be found on the web here: