Levitt Amp series kicks off with Latino flair
The s e cond Levitt AMP Chattanooga music series launches tonight, Aug. 23, when the Pedrito Martinez Group brings a hip-shaking mix of Cuban rumba, Afro- Latin jazz and Spanish f l amenco music to the grounds of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 M. L. King Blvd. The free concert will start at 6 p.m.
The Levitt AMP series is presented by Jazzanooga, a nonprofit dedicated to using jazz to transcend cultural barriers while promoting arts and cultural programming in the Chattanooga area. The outdoor concerts will be held rain or shine.
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1973. By age 11, he was performing as a vocalist and percussionist with Cuban legends such as Tata Guines. He traveled to Canada in 1998 with Jane Bunnett to tour with her group.
He decided to remain in North America to pur- sue his career. Two years later, when the Thelonious Monk I nstitute Competition f eatured Afro- Latin hand drumming for the f irst time, Martinez won first place.
After making the permanent move to New York City in 1998, Martinez co-founded the highly successful Afro-Cuban band Yerba Buena, which recorded two albums and opened for acts including the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.
In addition to playing on more than 100 albums, Martinez has worked with acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Paul Simon, 12-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and nine-time Grammy- winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
Vocalist and percussionist Pedrito Martinez has played on more than 100 albums.