Jazz Graduate Student Brian Martin Receives National Recognition for Composition

Brian Martin
Brian Martin

“Lookin’ Forward” by graduate student Brian Martin is one of only six compositions selected from a highly competitive national field for inclusion in the Jazz Education Network’s Young Composer Showcase.

All six winning compositions will be performed by the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors at the Jazz Education Network’s national conference in Reno, Nevada, in January.

According to Martin, “The new piece was part of a self-imposed challenge to compose a new tune every day for a week from scratch. ‘Lookin’ Forward’ combines elements from the jazz tradition (the melody is reminiscent of bebop tunes), and the modern African-American musical landscape, especially hip-hop.”

“Lookin’ Forward” was originally arranged for performances in the Amherst area by smaller jazz ensembles. The big-band arrangement that was chosen for the Young Composer Showcase was written for the debut performance of the Brian Martin Big Band, a group formed to showcase Martin’s work and bring together fellow musicians from Massachusetts and his home state of Iowa. The work was also performed by the Downbeat award-winning UMass Jazz Ensemble I on Oct. 11.

Other winning entries for the Young Composer Showcase were submitted by students at Berklee College of Music, University of Miami, University of Michigan, Indiana University and University of Northern Colorado.