Friends who play together, stay together.
Medeski Martin & Wood is jazz percussionist Billy Martin’s most well-known project, but he has also played with the likes of the Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, and Iggy Pop. In fact, the jazz jam band drummer has made it a point to write and play with as many people as he can, and for his latest show in Brooklyn he’s inviting his first drum teacher as well as his former students.
“What I get done is what I’m most passionate about,” said Martin, who is from Brooklyn but now lives in Englewood, New Jersey. “I like working on a lot of different projects.”
In “Festival of Percussion & Art” Martin will perform with his old teacher Allan Herman — who Martin met when he was only 11 years old.
Seeing Herman perform is something of a treat, says Martin.
“Allan doesn’t perform much anymore, so when he does, it’s special,” he said.
He will also play with the Fang Percussion Group, mostly made up of his former students.
“We’re going to play a piece called ‘Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast’,” said Martin. “It’s a massive rhythmic landscape based on cricket music.”
The night of musical guests will also feature examples of his prolific painting career. His artwork has appeared on Medeski Martin and Wood album covers, and he’s had gallery showings around the city.
Martin said he was inspired by the Shapeshifter Lab, which is a large loft-style venue in Park Slope.
“When I played there a half a year ago, I fell in love with the space. It reminded me of when I used to play lofts in Manhattan and Brooklyn,” said the 49-year-old. “So I thought it would be a great place to do a combination art exhibit and show.”
Billy Martin’s “Festival of Percussion & Art” at Shapeshifter Lab [18 Whitewell Pl. between Carroll and First streets, (646) 820–9452, www.shapeshifterlab.com]. Nov. 16, art 7 pm, free, music 8:30 pm, $12.