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Take heed, Stevie Wonder: Local piano legend Peter Martin is coming for you next

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Erin Bode, Brian Owens, Diane Reeves, Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, David Sanborn…these are just some of the names in local piano legend Peter Martin’s figurative rolodex. He’s performed with them all, and he’s crossed off every name on his musical bucket list—except for one.

“Stevie Wonder,” Martin told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “This would be a good time to put it out on the air, because he’s coming later this month, maybe his second keyboardist may have an accident around town and…I would be ready to come in. I’ve been on a concert with Stevie Wonder, I’ve met him, I’ve played right before he played…so it’s getting close here. He was a huge presence to me growing up. It’s not the jazz things that I normally do, but I know like every one of his tunes, so I could actually just show up to the gig and do something.”

Consider this our plea, Stevie. There’s good reason to have Martin up on stage right now: he’s recently released his first full-length CD in ten years, titled “What Lies Ahead.”

“There’s been a lot of musical activity in between, but in terms of an old-school, brand new CD with all original materials…yeah, it’s been ten years,” said Martin. “I’ve got a lot of new material on this new recording and a big chunk of it was played for the first time in studio back in May right here in St. Louis by all the musicians. It was really about ‘We’ve recorded the music, we’ve played it and now, the great thing as jazz musicians, is what do we do with it going forward?’”

Including a mix of original tunes and jazz standards (there’s even an original song entitled “King of Gravois”), the CD was recorded at Shock City Studios located in south St. Louis. The album features other local greats such as Erin Bode, Brian Owens and several members of the 442s.

Martin will continue his “Peter Martin Music Series” at the Sheldon on Saturday, Oct. 10 with a CD Release Concert. He will be joined by Greg Hutchinson, Rueben Rogers, Erin Bode and Brian Owens on stage.

Credit Peter Martin

Martin grew up in University City but moved away to New Orleans alongside fellow St. Louisan Jeremy Davenport. The two are still good friends, although Martin eventually returned to St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina. Though that doesn’t mean he hasn’t stopped globe-trotting with his music. Three weeks ago he was in Angola. Next week, he leave for a nine-day tour of Europe with his new tunes.

“I feel very fortunate to play with the musicians I play with, to play for the venues I play at, to play for the audiences that I do,” Martin said on his hopes for the future. “I’ve been doing a fair amount of performing in St. Louis, and I always like to do more of that. There’s something about getting out of bed in the morning, doing your day, and then doing a gig at home that doesn’t involve getting on an airplane. I enjoy the touring, but there’s nothing like playing at home.”

Related Event

  • What: Peter Martin Music CD Release Concert
  • When: Sat., Oct. 10 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63108
  • More information.

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt. The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.    

Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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