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Grammy®-nominated artists Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez leave audiences completely mesmerized by their fearless and virtuosic playing. A classical pianist by training, Rodriguez was discovered by his mentor Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival while Martinez honed his craft on the streets of Havana, learning the deeply-rooted percussion and vocal style of Afro-Cuban folkloric and religious music. 

Each brings a different approach to the collaboration. Rodriguez was schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana before Jones took him under his wing when Rodriguez defected to the United States in 2009. His riveting artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Afro Cuban and jazz roots. Martinez’s musical training came directly from the streets of the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana, in which he was raised, and he has subsequently performed with artists like Sting, Paul Simon, and Wynton Marsalis. Together, these two master musicians take listeners on a unique and exciting journey through a variety of moods and influences, from Cuban classics to collaborative original compositions to unexpected favorites. 

Biography 

Painted in the broadest of strokes, the stories of Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez may seem similar: both started life in Havana, discovered their gifts and passions for music, and headed to the United States, where they melded the music of their homeland with a wide variety of influences, each in his own deeply personal way. 

Zoom in a little, though, and the two paths differ considerably. Rodriguez was born into a musical family, his father a popular singer and television host. A child prodigy, he studied classical piano at the prestigious Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán and Instituto Superior de Arte while playing popular music in his father’s orchestra by night. While performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, he was discovered by his future mentor and producer, the legendary Quincy Jones. 

Martinez, on the other hand, honed his craft on the streets of Havana, learning the deeply rooted percussion and vocal style of Afro Cuban folkloric and religious music. Nearly a decade Rodríguez’s senior, the master percussionist and vocalist arrived in the United States in 1998, was soon awarded First Place at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Afro-Latin Hand Drum Competition, and appeared in the documentary film Calle 54. He then co-founded a Latin fusion group, Yerba Buena, with which he toured extensively and recorded several successful albums. Martinez has performed or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Angélique Kidjo, Chucho Valdés, and James Taylor. He has been leader of his own quartet since 2005, with a Grammy®-nominated album released in 2013 on Motéma Music. 

As a result of their differences, Rodriguez and Martinez share a natural chemistry that makes for a galvanizing musical experience when they come together. Their first duo outing, Duologue (2019)—produced by the legendary Quincy Jones—finds the pair exploring a range of moods and influences, from Cuban classics to collaborative original compositions to a number of unexpected favorites. 

“Since the beginning, my collaboration with Pedrito has been very exciting,” Rodriguez concludes. “Even though we come from different backgrounds, the energy we share, the passion for what we do, and the respect we have for each other has been beautiful.” Adds Martinez, “It was an amazing experience and a pleasure to work with Alfredo because he’s a great human being. The way he plays and the way he composes are unique and amazing.” 

location

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Virginia G. Piper Theater
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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