Latin Spotlight: Jim Martinez

Pianist Jim Martinez began his musical career at the age of four. In a short
amount of time, he has amassed a list of musical accomplishments
encompassing nearly all styles of music.
Martinez, 40, recently opened All-Star Night for the eleventh year in a row
at the 2006 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Headliners included The Lionel
Hampton Big Band, The Four Freshman, Roy Hargrove, Freddy Cole, and many
others. The L.A. Times calls this festival “…the number one festival in
the world.”
His first major professional gig was with legendary jazz trombonist, Sy
Zentner. Jim has since performed or recorded with notables like Lionel
Hampton, the Stan Kenton Alumni Band, Bucky Pizzarelli, Russell Malone, Jeff
Hamilton, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Benny Golson, Harold Jones and Ed
Thigpen, the first drummer for the famous Oscar Peterson Trio. Jim has also
performed with the Sacramento Symphony and toured as a featured guest with
the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band.
Martinez gained international exposure through his ‘Echoes of Oscar
Peterson’, which featured Martinez playing his own transcriptions of
Peterson’s performances. In November 1998, Ed Thigpen traveled from Denmark
to join Jim in a tribute to Art Tatum & Oscar Peterson. They also did a
similar tribute together in 1991.
Jim has nine CD’s to his credit. “Music For Your Soul” is Jim’s most recent
of three Gospel Jazz CD’s which contain his arrangements of church hymns as
Jazz. In this trilogy, some of Jim’s musical guests have included Lionel
Hampton, Carla Cook, and many others. Jim’s recordings are available through
his own music label, Invisible Touch Music and can be found online
Martinez now appears with his own Jazz groups for outreach and/or fundraiser
concerts at churches nationwide, from the Crystal Cathedral & Saddleback
Church in Southern California to St. Peters Church in NYC.
While in High School, Martinez spent 4 years as the pianist for the St.
Philamene’s Church Adult Choir. Jim then spent 10 years as pianist for the
Youth Choir at Fair Oaks Presbyterian. It was there that Jim answered the
call to follow Jesus Christ.
Martinez received eighteen years of classical training, most of those years
under his Ukrainian teacher, Yuriy Oliynyk. Jim won numerous awards that
include the Camellia Symphony and the Chico Symphony Young Artist Concerto
Competitions, the Music Teacher’s Association Junior Bach Festival (two
times), just to name a few.
Jim recently sold his company, Invisible Touch Music Software, which was
founded in 1989. The company arranged and recorded MIDI files (music on
floppy disks) for all digital and acoustic player-pianos. One of the
highlights was a three year agreement giving exclusive international
distribution rights to Warner Brothers Publications.
Martinez is the Minister of Music at River Valley Church in Rancho Cordova,
CA. He is a recording artist for PianoDisc Player Systems, QRS Music, as
well as a Kawai Pianos Artist.
Jim lives in Rocklin, CA (near Sacramento) with his wife, Suzy, and two
sons, James and Benjamin.

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