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 10 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his young career for his excellence in music, highlighted by the 2nd place prize for the Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria in 2018.
Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also cites Los Angeles Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax luminary Dave Stone as important mentors that had a substantial influence 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. 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, released to much acclaim on the distinguished jazz label out of Seattle - Origin Records - on January 21, 2022.
Currently based in one of the most important cities in the history of jazz - Kansas City - Martin maintains a regular performance schedule and holds the position of Professor of Jazz Saxophone 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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