Joe Martin is one of the most sought-after bassists on the New York City jazz scene. Known for his warm sound, facile ear, harmonic flexibility, and lyrical solos, he has performed with a diverse range of musicians. He was an integral member of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s group for several years, documented on a live recording from the Village Vanguard entitled The Remedy. He has also performed with Andy Bey, Vinicius Cantuaria, Bill Charlap, Anat Cohen, Avishai Cohen, Art Farmer, Aaron Goldberg, Jon Gordon, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm, Larry Goldings, Gilad Hekselman, Ethan Iverson, Guillermo Klein, Jonathan Kreisberg, Ivan Lins, Lionel Loueke, Bill McHenry, John McNeil, Brad Mehldau, The Mingus Big Band, Ben Monder, Jane Monheit, Jean-Michel Pilc, Chris Potter, Maria Schneider, Jaleel Shaw, Grady Tate, Mark Turner, Michael Weiss, and many others.
Martin’s most recent CD, available on Anzic Records, is titled Not By Chance, and features Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, and Marcus Gilmore. His debut CD Passage(Fresh Sound New Talent Records) which features Mark Turner, Kevin Hays, and Jorge Rossy, received much acclaim from critics and musicians alike. He leads gigs regularly in New York City at clubs including The Jazz Gallery, Smoke, and Smalls. He has also toured with his band in Italy.
Born in Kansas City in 1970, Martin grew up surrounded by music in Pella, Iowa. His father was clarinetist with the Des Moines Symphony and his mother is an amateur violinist. His younger brother Phil is a drummer who resides in Chicago. His grandfather was a jazz pianist who played nightclub and dance gigs in Joplin, Missouri. Joe began his musical studies on cello at age seven. At age fifteen he picked up the electric bass and by the end of high school he had also begun playing the string bass. Joe attended DePaul University where he continued his bass study with Larry Gray, with whom he studied both classical and jazz. He transferred to William Paterson College in New Jersey, where he studied with Todd Coolman, Rufus Reid, and Harold Mabern. During this period he frequented New York City jazz clubs and heard veteran bassists like Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Ray Drummond, and George Mraz, as well as younger players like Bob Hurst, Larry Grenadier, Christian McBride, and Peter Washington. Joe earned a Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude in 1994 and subsequently moved to New York City.