The Pedrito Martinez Group has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Ben Ratliff summed it up aptly for the New York Times (June 15, 2010) calling it, “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk.”
With its formation in the current lineup in 2008, the group has developed into an extraordinarily tight and creative unit. With a home base gig in Midtown Manhattan the group has built a fan base that includes Steve Gadd, Ravi Coltrane, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, John Scofield, Roger Waters, Derek Trucks, Herlin Riley, and Will Lee. Members include percussionist, Jhair Sala, from Lima, Peru; electric bassist, Alvaro Benavides, from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist, Araicne Trujillo, from Havana, Cuba.
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Since arriving in the United States at the end of the 1990s, the Cuban percussionist Pedro Martinez has been all over the place, putting rumba and guaguancó into the weave of all kinds of groups. But when his drums, singing and writing are the focus – as is the case in his new band– he’s an incomparable performer. —Ben Ratliff, New York Times June 25, 2010