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 some of the finest millennial artists, and is a vehicle for his creative energy as a composer. Martinez’s compositions are dynamic and soulful, with a fresh juxtaposition of tradition and originality, à la Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Thad Jones, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The MJO also acts to raise awareness of the legacy of Billy Strayhorn, by interpreting known and lesser-known compositions by the subtle jazz giant.
A staple of the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra is Martinez’s effort to showcase millennials propelling today's popular music. Band members have collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Clarke, Kanye West, Kamasi Washington, Danilo Perez, Adele, Metropole Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Billy Childs, Christian Scott, John Legend, Natalie Cole, John Beasley’s MONK'estra, Al Jarreau, The Eagles, Ron Carter, Michael Buble, Lady Gaga, Ulysees Owens Jr., Lizzo, Jerry Bergonzi, Ariana Grande, Bill Holman Big Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Bernard Fowler, Kesha, Eric Reed, Barry Manilow, Kurt Elling, George Garzone, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Simon Phillips, John Patitucci, Seth MacFarlane, Usher, Seal, Diane Reeves, Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Terri Lyne Carrington, Bob Mintzer Big Band, Meghan Trainor, Jon Faddis, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Postmodern Jukebox, Ebi, Verdine White, Pharrell, Casey Abrams, Peter Erskine, Joey Sellers, Mike Posner, Esperanza Spalding, and Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Right from its maiden voyage in 2016, the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra has packed or sold out venues across Southern California including Feinsteins at Vitello’s, Blue Whale, Ambassador Auditorium, and Festival of Arts Laguna Beach. The MJO has featured A-list artists Josie James, Mike Garson, Bernard Fowler, and millennial artists Teryn Ré and Jake Chapman. In connection with the Colburn School’s 2021 Amplify Series, Marlon Martinez and the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra will record its debut studio album, featuring a millennial tribute to Billy Strayhorn, in 2022.
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.