Personalities | Juan Martín | Using the Guitar to Paint | Guitar Heroes
Juan Cristóbal Martín (b. 1948) was born in Málaga, Spain, and started learning the guitar at the age of six. In his early twenties he moved to Madrid to study under Nino Ricardo and Paco de Lucía. Martín was influenced by classic flamenco and the Spanish classical guitar tradition.
His major influences included de Lucía, Tomatito and Andrés Segovia. But Martín’s work evokes jazz guitarists like Joe Pass as well, and even the style of the late Brazilian guitar virtuoso Laurindo Almeida, one of the first guitarists to combine samba with cool jazz and a major influence on Martín.
One of Martín’s early recordings was Picasso Portraits (1981). Each section is an audio depiction of a painting by Pablo Picasso. Martin composed the pieces, and the album included guest appearances by Simon Phillips (session musician for Mike Oldfield and many others), most of the Gordon Giltrap Band and some members of the Jeff Beck Band.
Although it was not released until the Nineties, he recorded a track with Rory Gallagher in 1984 (on the album Wheels Within Wheels). The same track has Richard Thompson and David Lindley on it. Martín recorded with Herbie Hancock in 1987 and played on stage with Miles Davis.
Martín began his record career in the Eighties, when he recorded a few albums for RCA’s Novus label, including Through The Moving Window and Painter In Sound (both 1990). Martín crossed paths with jazz greats ranging from tenor and soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter to Brazilian singer Flora Purim and her percussionist husband, Airto Moreira. Martín recorded for the Alex label in the early to mid-Nineties, and in the late Nineties and early Noughties recorded extensively for the independent Flamenco Vision label. By early 2005 Martín had recorded at least 16 albums.
Martín released a successful instructional book Juan Martín’s Guitar Method El Arte Flamenco De La Guitarra, which was printed in both English and Spanish.
Martín has been voted in the top three guitarists in the world in the magazine Guitar Player. His latest albums have flamenco dancers on the soundtrack, adding the sounds of flamenco zapateado dancing to the music.
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