Thursday, April 24, 2014

'A friend of a friend of ...': Frank Martin

Frank Martin shared a photo on his Facebook status last week that caught my attention.  He was in his familiar spot on keyboards, in the middle of a rehearsal led by Sting with a group of other musicians as they prepared for the 25th Anniversary Rain Forest benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on April 17.

Frank Martin (photo via
It's not unusual for Frank Martin to be associated with musicians like Sting, or for that matter musicians with names like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Al Jarreau, Larry Coryell ... well, just go to his website to see even more of a roster of well-known names Frank has been associated with through the years.  Or just go to his website and enjoy the original soft jazz that plays right along with your browsing.

It's tasty stuff.

Martin has a musical resume that's nothing short of breathtaking.  He's a clinician/teacher at the University of California at Berkeley, he teaches classes in arranging, composition, rhythm, piano, improv, he has his own recording studio in San Rafael, and he's worked with ... well, let's just say he's worked with a dazzling array of artists through the years.

Another photo from the preparations for the last Rain Forest concert was a simple one, taken from the stage facing the seats that would be filled by an audience in the prestigious hall.  The photo showed a drum set that would be manned by a longtime associate of Martin's, drummer Narada Michael Walden, who has a long and storied musical history of his own as a musician and Grammy Award-winning producer.

Frank has been a mainstay in Narada's band for a lot of years, in part because -- as Narada himself has said -- Frank Martin can play any style, whether it's jazz, pop, funk, soul, you name it.  It pays to be versatile.

That's how you get a gig like the one at Carnegie Hall for the Rain Forest foundation.

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