Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing saxophone at age 9 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his career for his excellence in music, highlighted by receiving the 2nd place prize for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria - among other acknowledgements.
Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites LA Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax great Dave Stone as having had substantial influences on his development.
Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized by a relentless energy and adventurous ideas. The vibe of his music ranges widely from sensitive and inviting to thunderous and enraged - inspired by perhaps his deepest musical influence, John Coltrane. Martin's debut album, Vision, was released under the independent artist label SubtleStreet Records on July 27th, 2018. It debuted in the top 40 of the iTunes Jazz Charts, and as an Amazon best-seller in the first week of its release. His sophomore album, High Plains, recently released on the Origin Record Label on January 21, 2022.
Currently based in Kansas City, Martin maintains a regular performance schedule and is on faculty at The Conservatory of Music & Dance at The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC).
Out Now On Origin Records
"...[Stephen] is his own man on his second album as a leader, blowing hot, cool and earnestly on the quartet date. His disposition is decidedly contemporary... these 'High Plains' are well worth drifting through..."
- Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
"Mainstream jazz - in Kansas City, or anywhere else - doesn’t get much better than High Plains."
- Bill Brownlee, Kansas City Star
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