"Martin, whose talents run the gamut from jazz to classical, was equally adept at straight accompaniments as he was with jazz improvisation, often stopping the show with powerful displays of keyboard-length solos."
- artsBHAM (Oct 18, 2015)
""...another gifft...Aided by Joel Martin, the piano virtuoso who was the concert’s main accompanist, Battle “jazzed up” a few numbers, “Wade in the Water,” “Little David” and others.
Martin gave the nine-foot grand piano nimble feet and made it seem to get up and dance, especially with solos and numbers that put him in the spotlight.."
- Bill Robinson, Richmond Register KY
April 22, 2016
Joel A. Martin (The Bentley) is the creator of Jazzical®, a marriage of classical of jazz. Through Jazzical he has collaborated with and/or written music for Grammy® Award-winners Kathleen Battle, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, cellist Eugene Friesen of the Paul Winter Consort, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers. He has produced and played on critically acclaimed CDs by Brazilian jazz master Paul Lieberman, gospel jazz singer Jolie Rocke Brown, among many other artists.
At 17 Joel was the youngest pianist ever, and the first African American pianist, to compete in the 1985 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He has appeared as soloist with the NY Philharmonic, El Paso Symphony, Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA), Philadelphia Orchestra, Cab Calloway Orchestra, New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, and the Hartford Symphony.
Joel's 7th Jazzical® CD, Jazzical Meets Menken, released in Oct. 2013 at NYC's famed Birdland, honored multiple Oscar/Grammy/Tony Award-winning Disney/Broadway composer Alan Menken (Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Enchanted, Pocahontas). With Broadway legends Liz Callaway, Amanda McBroom, Christine Pedi, & the Gay Men's Chorus of LA, Jazzical Meets Menken features 12 Menken songs and two world premieres.
On July 18, 2014 Joel produced Footsteps of Mandela, an all-star tribute to Nelson Mandela at NYC's Riverside Church. It was the capstone event of International Mandela Day celebrations following Mandela’s passing. In Jan 2015 Footsteps of Mandela was brought to Bridgeport CT for a packed audience of 1000 people.
March 6, 2016 heralded Joel’s new Footsteps of Peace concert event in West Palm Beach with an all-star cast promoting peace and reconciliation in our communities.
Plans for 2019 include:
Touring with MET Opera legend Kathleen Battle in her production of the “Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey"
Producing the 9th and 10th CD in the Jazzical series featuring the Jazzical Symphony Orchestra. - JAZZICAL ROCKS! and JAZZICAL: Armenia!
Friesen & Martin Debut of cello/piano duo CD with multiple Grammy-winning cellist of the Paul Winter Consort, Eugene Friesen and pianist Joel A. Martin
Debut CD of Piano Duo "The Sonicals" with George Lopez and Joel A. Martin
Debut of "Intimate Ella Tribute" CD with Sharon Clark and Joel A. Martin
World premiere of Joel's first full length opera, "HIPOPERA" in Darien CT at the Darien Arts Center Weatherstone Theater on June 29.
“As a songwriter I think of myself as an architect. We design the houses, we do the blueprint, but then we hand it off to other people to build the house and they live in the house, and it is a wonderful thing. Tonite, I have been in the presence of a master builder, a master designer, and people who really know how to live in that house and I am so honored to be a part of this.”
- Alan Menken, at the debut concert of "Jazzical Meets Menken" CD Live at Birdland, NYC
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