Stephen Martin


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 the saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a musically rich tradition, particularly in jazz. He has been recognized early and often in his career for his excellence in music, most recently being named a finalist for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award.

Martin studied music under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites St. Louis underground sax legend Dave Stone as having had a substantial influence on his early development.


Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized by a relentless energy and particularly adventurous ideas. He is a highly emotional player, and 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 his 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. He is currently working on his second album set to be released mid-late 2020.


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). He contributes to a thriving, exceptional local music scene as well as performing throughout the country and abroad. Check below for upcoming performances.


debut ALBUM

'Vision' Out Now



"I place it in the top ten releases by new artists I heard in 2018. His original compositions are self-assured and intriguing. Martin has obviously studied the tone and attack of John Coltrane in his approach to the tenor. Hey, but if you want to model yourself after an artist, why not emulate the best? Finally, Martin has offered a superb reading of Anthony Newley's "Pure Imagination," a lost gem not brought to light.  Martin's airy treatment of the main melody conveys wistful optimism and a will to joy. I'm hearing it in my head as I type these words."

      - Jack Marchbanks, Ohio National Public Radio



“‘Vision’ is bovenal dynamisch eerbetoon aan een vervlogen periode die bepalend was voor de evolutie van de jazz. Stephen Martin mag dan verknocht zijn aan een welbepaald jazzsegment uit het verleden, hij weet dit wel op de juiste manier te kaderen en geeft er meteen een hedendaagse draai aan. Hij doet dat helemaal in de lijn van Mark Turner en Chris Potter. Een krachtig en vooral veelbelovend debuut boordevol auditief vuurwerk.”

      - Georges Tonla Briquet, Jazz'halo. Torhout, Belgium

Full Review









2.12.19 | 7:30P | 5529
Kansas City, MO
2.15.20 | 8P | Kauffman Center for the performing Arts
Kansas City, MO
2.16.20 | 7P | Kauffman Center for the performing Arts
Kansas City, MO
2.27.20 | 7P | Crystal's Spot
Lawrence, KS
3.6.20 | 9P | Green Lady Lounge
Kansas City, MO
3.12.20 | 9P | ça Va
Kansas City, MO


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© 2020 by Stephen Martin