Pedrito Martinez brings latin jazz to UNC Asheville for Feb. 8 concert

Photo by Danielle Moir

Press release from UNC Asheville:

Pedrito Martinez, the Cuban-born singer and percussionist whose latest recording was named top Latin jazz album of the year by NPR’s jazz critics, will perform in a ticketed concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium.

Martinez has recorded or performed with Paul Simon, Paquito D’Rivera, Bruce Springsteen and Sting, and has contributed to more than 50 albums since moving to New York City in 1998 at the age of 25 from his native Havana. Martinez and his group “wowed” Charleston’s Spoleto Festival last summer with their “infectious Afro-Cuban rhythmic sound,” according to the Charleston Chronical, and Martinez was named Best Percussionist of 2017 by the Jazz Journalists Association.

His latest album, Habana Dreams, features guest appearances by Rubén Blades, Wynton Marsalis, and Angélique Kidjo, along with the Pedrito Martinez Group. The group features musicians who have come together in New York City, including drummer Jhair Sala, who began his association with Martinez as his student two decades ago at the age of 10, and fellow Cuban Edgar Pantoja-Alemán, a multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer who has worked with jazz saxophonist David Murray among others.

The Pedrito Martinez Group’s debut album was nominated for a Grammy Award and featured guest appearances by prominent jazz musicians including Steve Gadd and John Schofield. Video and audio samples of Martinez’s music are available at

Tickets for the Feb. 8 concert at Lipinsky Auditorium are $15 general admission; UNC Asheville students are admitted free; $5 for all other students and for UNC Asheville employees; $10 for UNC Asheville alumni and OLLI members. Tickets are available at the door and online.

Martinez also will offer a master class, 9:55-11:10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Lipinsky Hall Room 018. This class is free and open to everyone.

This concert is part of UNC Asheville’s Cultural Events Series, which receives support from Biltmore Farms Hotels, Blue Ridge Public Radio and Our State magazine.

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