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. He has demonstrated his virtuosity while touring with a wide range of artists, from Stewart Copeland to Quatuor Ebène. Marlon is the protégé of mentor Stanley Clarke and studied with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter. He is the music director and composer of his new big band, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. Marlon is a winner of Colburn School’s 2020 New Venture Competition and was selected as an Amplify Series artist-in-residence at Colburn School for 2021-22.
Marlon received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees on a full scholarship at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, as a classical bass student of Peter Lloyd from 2009-2015. An avid orchestral musician, Marlon has performed for top conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Nicholas McGegan, Gerard Schwarz, David Newman, James Conlon, Richard Kaufman, Bramwell Tovey, Giancarlo Guerrero and the late Sir Neville Marriner. He has studied with Douglas Basye (Pacific Symphony), Dennis Trembly (Los Angeles Philharmonic), and Leigh Mesh (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). Marlon served as Principal Bass and Associate Principal Bass for the American Youth Symphony and YMF Debut Orchestra. He has performed with the San Diego Symphony as a substitute bassist, and has recorded TV-film sessions for artists such as Seth MacFarlane, Michael Giacchino and John Trapanese.
In 2010 and again 2011, Marlon was selected to participate in the highly acclaimed Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. During his membership, he performed under the baton of Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Yuri Temirkanov among others. He performed with international soloists such as Mischa Maisky, Leonidas Kavakos, Yuri Bashmet, Lisa Batiashvilli, Yuja Wang, and Deborah Voigt.
Marlon performed for Burt Bacharach at the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops in 2008, and for Ellis Marsalis at Snug Harbor in New Orleans in 2017. In 2019 he played alongside Ravi Coltrane in Gerry Gibbs’ Thrasher People CD release of Our People, and alongside Nicholas Payton with the Kojo Odu Roney Experience at Blue Note NYC. Marlon performs in jazz ensembles and David Bowie tributes with Mike Garson. He was a featured soloist at the world premiere of Garson’s Symphonic Suite for Healing at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2013. Marlon has collaborated with other internationally acclaimed classical and jazz artists such as Patrice Rushen, Martin Chalifour, Judd Miller, Paul Coletti, Donald Vega, Jim Walker, Antoine Roney, Bob Sheppard, Joey Sellers, Bernard Fowler, Nigel Martinez, and Josie James. He is currently the bassist for Stewart Copeland and Jon Kimura Parker’s epic collaboration Off The Score. Notable tour appearances include the 2015 21C Music Festival with Off The Score, the 2016 Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy with Quatuor Ebène and Stacey Kent, the premiere of his composition Jazz Impressions for String Orchestra, No. 1 at the 2016 Festival du Haut Limousin, and “Don’t Box Me In: An Intimate Evening with Stewart Copeland” at Long Beach Opera in 2018.
Dedicated to music education and outreach, Marlon is a faculty member of CSArts San Gabriel Valley, for both classical and jazz high school programs. He also serves as a double bass coach for the Capistrano Unified School District, and collaborates with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. With the help of Colburn School and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Marlon will record lectures and performances on the life and music of Billy Strayhorn, with Marlonius Jazz Orchestra, for Colburn School’s Amplify Series in 2021-22.
Marlon’s 2017 debut album Yours Truly demonstrates his versatility as a bassist and composer. His original compositions are dynamic and soulful, with a fresh juxtaposition of tradition and originality. Marlon showcases Stewart Copeland and Judd Miller on his rock-fusion track “HD,” and introduces his millennial jazz quintet with Isaac Wilson, Jacob Scesney, Cam Johnson and Aaron Blumenthal. Yours Truly is available on Apple Music, Amazon Music, and international downloadable platforms.