Gabriela Martina – vocal & compositions
Kyle Miles – bass
Jharis Yokley – drums
Jussi Reijonen – guitar & fretless guitar
Ben Rosenblum – accordion
Gabriela Martina is a composer, arranger, and bandleader. Released in 2016 with a four-star review from DownBeat, her newest album, No White Shoes, represents a major step in the singer’s sojourn as a 21st-century musician. Martina had the opportunity to perform and collaborate with heavyweights like Meshell Ndegeocello, Jack DeJohnette, and Angelique Kidjo. She recorded with veteran drummer J.R. Robinson and was a semi-finalist in the Shure Voice Competition at the 2009 Montreux Jazz Festival, performing with guitarist Lee Ritenour’s band. Martina released a critically hailed EP in 2010, Curiosity, which included her original song “Ain’t Nobody,” a finalist in the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foundation Young Jazz Composer Awards in 2012. She sings in four languages (German, English, French, and Spanish) and is currently performing with various groups up and down the East Coast. Martina owns her own booking agency called Red Velvet Sounds and is cofounder and curator of the In Momentum concert series.
Martina is a social activist who is passionate about learning more about other cultures, helping to develop a sense for community, and fighting inequality and racism. She is a strong advocate of causes that promote equal human rights independent of religious or political affiliations. From 2009 to 2010, Martina was the founder and president of the Cultural Leaders Club at Berklee College of Music, where students investigated causes and effects in terms of race, gender, and ethnicity issues. Sonic Relief, which Martina cofounded, was awarded the Berklee Urban Service Award 2016 for using music to aid people in need, such as organizing a humanitarian fundraising concert for Syrian refugees, featuring Simon Shaheen and the Lee Swensen Katz Trio in December 2015.
“Gabriela Martina’s Swiss roots offer an incredible range as she practically yodels her way through “Narcissus” en route to her mostly originals program on No White Shoes (Self Release; 55:42 ★★★★). Her delivery is a blend of jazz with pop improvisation, and her creative, invested covers of Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt” (stunningly sung as overdubbed a cappella) and Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia” (a flat-out rocker featuring guitarist Jussi Reijonen) uproot convention.” – DOWNBEAT, John Ephland
“No White Shoes offers an impressive range of musical settings for Gabriela Martina’s agile voice in her originals and her unexpected takes on jazz standards. Of note are the gorgeous layered a cappella vocals in her treatment of Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt,” the mood swings from the introspective “Us”and “Love Me” to the r&b bump of the title song, and a rocked up take on Dizzy’s “A Night in Tunisia.” Throughout, Gabriela scats liberally while also generously sharing solo time with her very capable band members. The album is a strong showing for Gabriela.” – Mark Small, Editor, BerkleeToday magazine