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Church hosts swingin' jazz event
jim martinez
Jim Martinez

The First Presbyterian Church is inviting the community to celebrate Independence Day with jazz and hymns.

The church is holding a special musical performance featuring Jim Martinez, an acclaimed Jazz Steinway pianist, at 4 p.m. today. It will be an afternoon filled with music combining jazz and traditional hymns.

Martinez began his musical career at the age of four, receiving 18 years of classical training. He has amassed a list of musical accomplishments encompassing nearly all styles of music. He is a Steinway Pianos Artist and has performed or recorded with jazz notables Lionel Hampton, the Stan Kenton Alumni, Christian McBride, Russell Malone, Roy Hargrove, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Benny Golson and Ed Thigpen, the first drummer for the famous Oscar Peterson Trio. Martinez has also performed with the Sacramento Symphony and toured as a featured guest with the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band from Travis AFB.

Martinez has 12 CDs to his credit. Four of these recordings are “Jazz Praise”, his arrangements of church hymns as straight-ahead jazz. His latest CDs are "Jazz Praise IV: He Keeps Me Swingin'" and “A Classical and Jazz Tribute to Edvard Grieg”. These recordings are available through his own music label, Invisible Touch Music and at; also via iTunes and other online stores.

Martinez creatively combines hymns and Jazz standards: “Amazing Grace” ala Dave Brubeck’s ”Take Five”, “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord” ala Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” and “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” ala Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy”.

Martinez, a former Minister of Music, is currently principle organist at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Fair Oaks, Calif.

The community is invited to Martinez's Turlock performance today. A love offering will be collected. The church is located at 2619 N. Berkeley Ave., Turlock. For more information, call 632-2324.