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About me

Martin Uherek

Saxophonist, born on September 22, 1987, was in contact with music since the earliest age, through a church choir led by his father. He soon showed a lot of interest in music, having a good time playing around with different instruments. At 12, he focused onto clarinet and after finishing high school switched to saxophone. A change in his musical life came in 2004…  

Finding jazz

A change in his musical life came in 2004/2005, his 3rd year of high school, when he participated in a 1-year exchange study program at SMC High School in Menasha, Wisconsin. Here, after his friend played him a recording of Charlie Parker called Confirmation, Martin fell in love with jazz music more than ever before and decided to pursue music career, with focus on jazz. He went on to study saxophone at Conservatory of J.L.Bella under leadership of Mgr. Art. Radoslav Solárik, which he finished in 2012. Besides the conservatory he also attended private music school, where he has studied jazz music for 6 years under leadership of great jazz pianist Klaudius Kováč.

 

Portfolio

In 2008 he founded his band Martin Uherek Quartet, with strong roots in jazz tradition, which still functions today and is focused on interpretation of jazz of the 30’s to 50’s. In October 2008 Martin competed with his band in the 1st Tarnow International Jazz Contest in Poland, where their band won 2nd prize in the younger category and in addition, Martin was awarded as soloist in this category. In December 2008, their band became the laureate of Slovak national jazz competition “New Faces of Slovak Jazz 2008”. In 2012 his band won in a Contest of Young Talents SLSP on B stage of Bratislava Jazz Days and on October 2013, he and his band opened on the main stage of the biggest Slovak jazz festival, Bratislava Jazz Days 2013, with his newest program – Remembering Monk, with line up Martin Uherek – tenor, Jakub Tököly – piano, Peter Korman – double bass, Pavol Blaho – drums.

Throughout his career, Martin took part in many other musical projects, among them Ľuboš Brtáň Quartet, where he was a stable member during 2009-2010, and big band Swingless Jazz Ensemble, where he has played as a guest soloist and leader of the saxophone section. He has also played with many of slovak and foreign jazz musicians, such as Klaudius Kováč, Róbert Ragan, Peter Solárik, Jozef “Iši” Döme, Juraj Bartoš, Jeff Gardner and others. Among his most important musical experiences, Martin considers his one time jamming with famous double-bassist Christian McBride and his drummer Ulysees Owens, Jr.

 

Projects

Martin has throughout his career organized several concert tours in Slovakia and also played in jazz festivals abroad (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic). In the present, Martin works with many of his colleagues from Banská Bystrica, usually under the name Martin Uherek Quartet, focusing on swing and bebop, as well as with his newer projects Remembering Bud Powell and Remembering Thelonious Monk.

His most recent project is called The Stories of Jazz, where Martin has embarked on a journey to introduce jazz and its beauty to wide public. Playing of his trio is interlaced with interesting stories about jazz musicians, jazz history, which “answer many questions, that a lay member of the audience might have, but fear to ask”. This project is currently presented in Jazz klub 12 in Banská Bystrica, but may soon expand to other venues.

 

Debut album – Walkin’ My Own Way

In November 2015, Martin released his debut album titled Martin Uherek – Walkin’ My Own Way. It presents his personal statement – about the path that he is on, things that he has experienced as a musician and also about the direction that he decided to pursue, with thanks to everyone that influenced him on this musical journey. Each composition on the album is dedicated to a certain part of Uherek’s life, usually to the musicians that were important to him during those times. The core band on this album is the pianoless trio: Martin Uherek – saxophone, Peter Korman – double bass, Pavol Blaho – drums. There are also special guest appearances, top Slovak jazz players who influenced Uherek on his musical journey – pianist Klaudius Kováč, trumpeter Juraj Bartoš and alto saxophonist Radovan Tariška. The album was recorded in August 2015 in Banská Bystrica and was released under label Music Fund Slovakia in November 2015.

 

Other activities and influences

Martin doesn’t only promote jazz through his playing, since 2014 he has been editor of the biggest Slovak jazz web portal www.jazz.sk and since January 2015 he has been editor and MC for Slovak national radio Devín with program called Music of the youth – Jazz Start Up.

As his biggest influence Martin considers Charlie “Bird” Parker, coining him with phrase “the reason why I play the saxophone”. In addition, playing tenor, he deeply admires the beautiful and sensitive playing of the tenor sax great Ben Webster as well as the father of the tenor saxophone, Coleman Hawkins. Among other favorite musicians he also counts Sonny Rollins, and majority of the key figures of swing and bebop era, like Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Billie Holiday…

 

Official biography for download:

Martin Uherek – biography EN

Martin Uherek – biografia SK

Official promo picture for download (HQ) (photo 1 by Peter Hladký, photo 2 by Zuzana Ďuricová):

MU promo picture 1

MU promo picture 2

Photography by Peter Hladký & Rudolf Baranovič

BJD3

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