Both hailing from Havana, Alfredo Rodríguez was born into a musical family, his father a popular singer and TV host. A child prodigy, he studied classical piano at the prestigious Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán and Instituto Superior de Arte while playing popular music in his father’s orchestra by night. While performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006 he was discovered by his future mentor and producer, the legendary Quincy Jones.
Pedrito Martinez honed his craft on the streets of Havana, learning the deeply rooted percussion and vocal style of Afro-Cuban folkloric and religious music. A master percussionist and vocalist, he arrived in the U.S. in 1998, and was soon awarded First Place at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Afro-Latin Hand Drum Competition.
He later appeared in the documentary film Calle 54. Martinez cofounded a Latin fusion group, Yerba Buena, with which he toured extensively and recorded several successful albums. Martinez has performed or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Angélique Kidjo, Chucho Valdés and James Taylor.
Their first collaborative album, Duologue, released in February 2019 and produced by Quincy Jones, finds the pair exploring a range of moods and influences, from Cuban classics to collaborative original compositions to a number of unexpected favorites, like a version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and their joyous take on the theme from the classic video game “Super Mario Bros. 3.” More traditional is their bristling rendition of the Cuban classic, “El Punto Cubano.”