Marlon Martinez leads the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra in celebration of its debut album release Marlonius | Strayhorn, featuring the music of Billy Strayhorn and a selection of Marlon’s original compositions. On December 7, 2022, Marlon visited the GRAMMY Museum to discuss Strayhorn’s legacy and the Strayhorn project with moderator and KUSC host Alan Chapman. The GRAMMY Museum was thrilled to host this program in conjunction with the Colburn School.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Marlon Martinez is a young virtuoso bassist and composer emerging at the center of the resurgent Los Angeles jazz scene. He has demonstrated his virtuosity while touring with a wide range of artists, from rock icon Stewart Copeland to classical trailblazers Quatuor Ebène. Marlon is the protégé of mentor Stanley Clarke and studied with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter in New York City. He is the music director and composer of his big band, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. Marlon is a winner of Colburn School’s 2020 New Venture Competition and was selected as an artist-in-residence for the inaugural Amplify Series at Colburn School in 2022.
Marlon received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees on a full scholarship at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, as a classical bass student of Leigh Mesh and Peter Lloyd from 2009-2015. An avid orchestral musician, Marlon has performed for renown classical conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, John Adams, James Conlon, David Newman, Nicholas McGegan, Gerard Schwarz, Richard Kaufman, Bramwell Tovey, Giancarlo Guerrero and the late Sir Neville Marriner. Marlon is a member of Wild Up, and he has performed with the San Diego Symphony, the Martha Graham Dance Academy, Ojai Festival Orchestra, and is a substitute bassist for Pacific Symphony and New West Symphony.
In 2010 and again 2011, Marlon was selected to participate in the highly acclaimed Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. During his membership, he performed under the baton of Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Yuri Temirkanov among others. He performed with international classical soloists such as Mischa Maisky, Leonidas Kavakos, Yuri Bashmet, Lisa Batiashvilli, Yuja Wang, and Deborah Voigt.
As a jazz performer, Marlon played for Burt Bacharach at the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops in 2008, and with the late Ellis Marsalis at Snug Harbor in 2017. In 2019 he played with Ravi Coltrane and Gerry Gibbs for the album release of Thrasher People: Our People, and with Nicholas Payton and the Kojo Odu Roney Experience at Blue Note NYC. Marlon performs in jazz ensembles and David Bowie tributes with Bowie veteran Mike Garson. Marlon was a featured soloist at the world premiere of Garson's Symphonic Suite for Healing at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2013. Other collaborators include Patrice Rushen, Barbara Morrison, Martin Chalifour, Judd Miller, Paul Coletti, Donald Vega, Frieda Lee, Jim Walker, Antoine Roney, Bob Sheppard, Joey Sellers, Bernard Fowler, Valerie Geason, Nigel Martinez, Josie James and Emily Chamberlin Dance Collective. As a studio musician in Los Angeles, Marlon has recorded for artists such as Seth MacFarlane, Michael Giacchino, Justin Hurwitz, John Trapanese and Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox.
Marlon is the bassist for Stewart Copeland and Jon Kimura Parker’s epic collaboration Off The Score. Notable tour appearances include the 2015 21C Music Festival with Off The Score, the 2016 Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy with Quatuor Ebène and Stacey Kent, the premiere of his composition Jazz Impressions for String Orchestra, No. 1 at the 2016 Festival du Haut Limousin, and Don't Box Me In: An Intimate Evening with Stewart Copeland at Long Beach Opera in 2018.
Dedicated to music education and outreach, Marlon created Ever Up And Onward: A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn in 2022, an eight episode video series presented by Colburn School that explores the life, legacy and music of Billy Strayhorn. As a Colburn Amplify Series artist, Marlon recorded an album, reviving known and lesser known compositions by Billy Strayhorn with Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. The album, Marlonius | Strayhorn, will be released in 2023 and their single ""All Day Long"" will be released in December 2022. Marlon's Strayhorn projects are made possible by the continuous support of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation.
Marlon's 2017 debut album Yours Truly demonstrates his versatility as a bassist and composer. His original compositions are dynamic and soulful, with a fresh juxtaposition of tradition and originality. Marlon highlights Stewart Copeland and Judd Miller on his rock-fusion track ""HD,"" and features jazz artists Isaac Wilson, Jacob Scesney, Cam Johnson and Aaron Blumenthal. Yours Truly is available on Apple Music, Amazon Music, and international downloadable platforms.