Official page for the Los Angeles-based big band
Our culture needs the resurgence of American big band jazz. Big bands are a symbol of democracy, with freedom of expression and collaboration as the centerpiece, and they must be spearheaded by the fresh faces of jazz today.
- MARLON MARTINEZ
Bassist, Composer and Music Director, MJO
Marlon Martinez’s blazing big band, the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra (MJO), features LA and NYC’s finest millennial artists, and is a vehicle for his creative energy as a composer. Marlon’s compositions are dynamic and soulful, with a fresh juxtaposition of tradition and originality - à la Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Thad Jones, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The MJO also acts to raise awareness of the legacy of Billy Strayhorn, by presenting and interpreting known and lesser-known works by the subtle jazz giant.
A staple of the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra is Marlon’s effort to showcase millennials propelling today's popular music. Band members hold degrees from institutions such as Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, University of North Texas, University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach and Northridge, Azusa Pacific University, and Conservatory of Amsterdam. Members have also collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Gordon Goodwin, Joey Sellers, Christian Scott, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Kamasi Washington, Simon Phillips, Kanye West, The Eagles, Seth MacFarlane, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Postmodern Jukebox, Verdine White, Natalie Cole, Mike Posner, and more.
Right from its maiden voyage in 2016, the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra has packed or sold out venues across Southern CA - including Feinsteins at Vitello’s, Blue Whale, Ambassador Auditorium, and Festival of Arts Laguna Beach. The MJO currently features Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and recording artist Josie James. A featured soloist for Burt Bacharach, Josie’s credits also include Stevie Wonder, George Duke and Al Jarreau. The band is in the process of producing its debut studio album, as well as a millennial tribute to Billy Strayhorn, endorsed by the Billy Strayhorn Foundation.
THE BAND LEADER
Hailing from Los Angeles, Marlon Martinez is a young virtuoso bassist and composer emerging at the center of the resurgent LA and NYC jazz scenes. Marlon has demonstrated his virtuosity while touring with a wide range of artists, including Stewart Copeland, Quatuor Ebène, and Mike Garson. Discovered by Stanley Clarke, he has impressed legends such as George Duke, Burt Bacharach, Ellis Marsalis and Ron Carter. Classically trained and a graduate of the Colburn Conservatory of Music, Marlon has performed with Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, the San Diego Symphony and more.
Marlon’s sense of composition, increasing awareness about ensemble sound and feel as a player are in part what he brings to the group setting. He is also developing into an inventive soloist.
I can’t believe our good fortune in getting on the ground floor with you. So proud to see you leading that big band with confidence and aplomb. Every now and then when you take a solo it’s easy to see why all those slick players show up for you. A very rare gift you have.