Terrace Martin

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About Terrace Martin

There’s art that fits into clean labels, and then there are the shapeless soundscapes of Terrace Martin. Over the past several decades, Martin has planted his artistic flag in something much deeper than genre or form: Los Angeles. He wears it on his sleeve loud and proud, like on Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 by his side project The Pollyseeds, but you don’t need explicit mentions to hear it in the music, a rich blend of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, soul, and funk that bubbles like melting concrete. The son of a jazz drummer and a singer, Martin was born in 1978 and hopped all around L.A. as a kid, picking up the piano and saxophone on his own. Along the way, he learned to produce on a sampler, too. A bona fide prodigy, he immersed himself in the city’s jazz scene as a high schooler, studying under renowned music educator Reggie Andrews. Midway through studying at CalArts, he departed to tour as part of the backing band for both Kirk Franklin’s gospel choir God’s Property and Puff Daddy, alongside fellow young jazz luminaries Kamasi Washington and Thundercat. Those artists would remain central to Martin’s solo records, including 2015’s simmering Velvet Portraits, as well as his collaborative work with rappers like Kendrick Lamar and YG. In fact, collective play and improvisation have been maybe the most important aspects of Martin’s music. On albums like Sounds Of Crenshaw and his 2020 album Dinner Party with Robert Glasper and 9th Wonder, he’s less a lead player than a guiding light with a clear sonic inspiration. His vision fuses the many threads of Black music into something new, something mind-bending, something Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
December 28, 1978
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