A lot of parents worry when their kids discover rock & roll and all its varied musical descendants. Peter Martin's dad, however, became concerned when his offspring turned on to jazz. The elder Martin, a viola player, worked for the St. Louis Symphony and his wife was a violin teacher. Their son possessed a musical gift, which became evident as he played the violin before he had learned to talk. The boy took up the piano when he was three years old, and within two years he learned to write and read music. He was also composing at that time. With a background like that and jazz drawing the boy's attention as he approached his teen years, Martin's father grew anxious over the question of who could mentor his son's budding talent. When Martin was 13, a possible answer presented itself when Wynton Marsalis stopped in St. Louis to play with the city's symphony. The elder Martin asked the visiting jazz trumpeter to meet with his boy. He permitted his son to miss school for the appointment, and a day later the meeting resulted in a budding and ultimately fruitful mentor-pupil relationship between Marsalis and Martin. The younger musician went on to perform alongside Marsalis, as well as with Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Harry Connick Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Jazz Futures II, Nicholas Payton, and Christian McBride. Along with musicians from a variety of backgrounds from Scotland to Harlem, he also contributes to the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which is led by his first jazz mentor, Marsalis. Although Martin grew up in St. Louis, he was born in Florida. He studied at Juilliard School of Music and went on to play in an outfit led by vocalist Betty Carter. In addition to recording a handful of releases as a leader, Martin has contributed to more than two dozen recordings by other jazz artists, including Freedom in the Groove and Spirit of the Moment (Live at the Village Vanguard) from Redman.
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