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Lance Martin : The Lance Martin Band  Bio.

The Lance Martin Band  Bio.

The Lance Martin Band Bio…


The Lance Martin Band (TLMB) is a unique band out of Boston, by way of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Lance Martin is the flutist of TLMB he also creates the original arrangements for TLMB.  

How would a jazz band sound with a gospel make-up? TLMB is made up of musicians, who were first, into jazz, then, into R&B, and are currently playing gospel.
This is a mix which is perfect with the life of Lance Martin, which is why he created this Band.    

1967 at the age of 7, lance began playing the flute in Madison Elementary School.  Along side his best friend bassist, Ronnie Biggs, they both started on their instruments at a  time of race riots, and turmoil, in America.  It was also great and leading to some of the best music of that era leading to the 70’s which were very important in the Pittsburgh neighborhood.  Songs by James Brown, The Jackson Five, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, Thomas Dorsey, Ellington, and Gershwin were the strong influences of a Pittsburgh city kid starting to play flute , just as important as Blues and Vaudeville were the influences to such greats like Charlie Parker.

Lance started the flute in 1967, but was not good enough to play in the school orchestra.  When he was able to participate, he was more used to perform dog barks than to play. By 6th grade, lance was relied upon to play in the orchestra.  Later being chosen to play for All-City Band, and All-City Orchestra gave more respect to Lance’s talents.  In 1974, at age 14,Lance joined the Pittsburgh, based Catholic Arch Dieses ran Youth Orchestra called: The Ozanam Strings.  Lance played first chair, and also wrote his first composition for this 96 piece orchestra.  While playing with the Ozanam Strings, Lance shared the stage with Woody Herman, Andre Watts, Maynard Ferguson, and even upstaged Stanley Turrentine at the age of 16 playing his flute solo.  Also during this time, Lance created his first band, The Young Composer’s Jazz Band which he kept until he moved to Boston.
   
Lance moved to Boston. After a summer course at Carnegie Mellon University, Lance decided to attend Berklee College of Music as a Jazz Composition Major and studied under greats like Michelle Legrande.  At this time Lance’s flute studies inspired him to create, and nurture a new way to interpret on the flute.  The sound was to be as soulful as an Aretha, and Betty Carter, along with the teachings of Marcel Moyse of strength and conditioning in flute tone.   While attending Berklee, Lance became friends and played with  Cindy Blackman, Donald Harrison, Grieg Osby, old Pgh friend: Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Branford Marsalis.   Cindy and Jeff played for Lance’s school band: Flute & Friends.  

After Berklee, The Lance Martin Band was formed and began performing around New England. What makes this band unique, is the energetic jazz, funk, and true gospel.  The band is always trying to push the audience into a frenzy, like a revival meeting.  They call this style: Physical Jazz.  Because the band is led by flute, allot of times people just don’t know how to understand the flute being played like this, so Lance decided to play well known songs and re-interpret them on the flute.  This was the Quincy Jones & Aretha Franklin formula which worked and influenced Lance not to only play jazz tunes but play R&B (like Dizzy did) Pop, and gospel.  This helped The Lance Martin Band create a following who loves the music of Earth Wind & Fire, Kirk Franklin, Stevie Wonder, but also enjoy the music of Gershwin, Ellington, Cannonball, etc.  The anticipation is what popular tune the band will re-arrange.

Along with Lance is his co-MD, Jonathan Singleton.  Jonathan has traveled around the world as a gospel/jazz pianist for many groups. Jonathan conducts several choirs, and has a fantastic ear for converting a pop or jazz harmony with a contemporary gospel flair.  On YouTube.com, you’ll hear Lance & Jonathan perform a Kirk Franklin piece: The Reason Why We Sing, and a Samba by T.D. Jakes: High In all The Earth.  This is a perfect merging of latin jazz and gospel harmonies which best represents the style of Lance’s flute playing.  This jazz band also plays American southern shout music (on YouTube: Tell You What I Say).  Our bassist, who lost his life in 2010  is the great Webster Roach; one of Boston’s premier Jazz/Funk bassist.  This saddened the whole band, but it was a blessing to have him on the recent CD PHYSICAL JAZZ.  Web’s specialty can be found on his performance of Moanin’ and Eleanor Rigby.  Our vocalist, is the great Athene Wilson.  Athene is one of the most talented vocalists in the city of Boston.  She is in high demand throughout the city, and is always a treat in any concert.  She has the flavor in her voice of a Sarah, Soulfulness of Aretha and the excitement of both.

April of 2009 Lance was flown to Switzerland to participate in the Jazzaar Jazz Concerts headed by Fritz Renold.  Lance was in the company of Victor Lewis, Buster Williams, Barrie Lee, and Dennis Montgomery III, and a host of international musicians.  Lance was asked to sing in the style of Louis Armstrong  in Aarau, Switzerland and Trafo Baden. Lance also conducted on flute, a workshop on  interpretation.

The Lance Martin Band has also opened for the great songwriter Brenda Russell when she was on her Piano in the Dark Tour through Boston.  Now the current members of The Lance Martin Band are: Jonathan Singleton, Zeke Martin, Joe (Jam) Sumrell, and Lance.

Lance continues to perform around New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, his goal is to take The Lance Martin Band back to Europe.  Online CD sales of Physical Jazz are extremely well.  Lance is still on staff at Wellesley College, he performs regularly with his Lance Martin Jazz Trio, his gospel brass ensemble (as conductor) of 37 years, The Black Sea Salsa Band, and always with The Lance Martin Band.

George Gershelling

updated: 9 months ago