Dynamic Cuban Jazz Duo Brings the Heat to Walton Arts Center

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, January 8, 2019 – Melding the music of their homeland with jazz influences, Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez will perform at Walton Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30pm as part of the Starrlight Jazz Club Series.

A limited number of tickets to this show are available for $30-$50 plus applicable fees. Tickets and reserved parking can be purchased in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.

As jazz music is enjoying a resurgence with younger audiences, Rodríguez leads the way for the new wave of Cuban musicians who are embracing the genre. From his humble beginnings in Cuba to being discovered by Quincy Jones, Rodriguez has become a globally recognized Grammy®-nominee with three critically acclaimed releases.

Martinez, also born in Cuba, settled in New York City in 1998. Recording and performing with musical all-stars including Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Sting, Martinez has contributed to over 50 albums. He has received the Thelonious Monk Award, Sphinx Award for Excellence and been named “Percussionist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association every year from 2014-17.

Most of the pieces the duo performs originated with Rodríguez, who would record rough demos on his phone then send the files to Martinez to compose lyrics and rhythmic patterns. The tunes were further solidified in true collaboration between Rodríguez and Martinez during a weeklong rehearsal period.

The broad sweep of rhythmic frameworks Martinez brings to the original compositions reflects not only his Afro-Cuban roots but also the range of influences that have impacted him in New York City whether it’s reggae, 1970s R&B, jazz or funk. 

“Since the beginning, my collaboration with Pedrito has been very exciting,” Rodríguez concludes. “Even though we come from different backgrounds, the energy we share, the passion for what we do and the respect we have for each other has been beautiful.”

Walton Arts Center is Arkansas’ largest and busiest performing arts presenter. Each year more than 195,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend more than 400 events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, weddings and more. Approximately 45,000 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 200 volunteers donate 21,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors who help bring world-class arts experiences to Northwest Arkansas. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit www.waltonartscenter.org.