Savor member since 2007, Lorenzo Martinez

Interview video thumbnail for Lorenzo

My first instrument was actually the Marimba. My father was the Marimba player for Xavier Cugat’s orchestra, and he started giving me Marimba lessons when I was eight years old.

9 year old Lorenzo with Marimba Mallets
9-Year-Old Lorenzo with a pair of Marimba sticks.

But after a while, I realized that marimba wasn’t such a popular instrument – especially when I got into junior high and high school. By that time, I had started listening to a lot of Santana, and I got really turned onto the percussion. So I switched instruments.

Diving into percussion

Once I set my mind to it, I began immersing myself in the study of the timbales and congas, especially. But I didn’t give up the marimba. In fact, I also picked up a little keyboards, and began to practice my background and lead vocals.

Because by the time I began playing with groups, I realized that the more skills you had, the better the chance you would get the gig. As a multi-instrumentalist, I upped the odds quite a bit.

Life intervenes

Eventually I got married and started having kids. Unfortunately, that did curtail my musical activities for a while, as I had to support my family. So I began working in kitchens and learning the fine culinary arts. However, I never gave up my love for music.

Lorenzo with Marimbas and with Congas

Since my work usually happened from early morning to early afternoon, I had evenings and nights free to play music – which is what I began to do. Sometimes going to work at 6 AM, and then playing music until one or two in the morning.

It wasn’t easy, but eventually I got used to it. And I was willing to make a sacrifice to keep playing music, which was my first love.

The Santa Barbara scene

Over time, I got the opportunity to work with a number of “local” Santa Barbara artists, like Kenny Loggins, Jose Feliciano, Michael McDonald, and others.

Lorenzo Performing

I went on the road with the Simon Shaheen Quintet, which featured an “unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical and Latin American music.” We performed a lot in Israel, and in fact were traveling during 9/11, which was a very scary time, I can tell you. But the music was fantastic.

On joining Savor

Finally, I got a call to join Savor — which was wonderful. Paying homage to the Santana music that I grew up with is like a dream come true, and I enjoy every minute of it. While I still play music in other situations, it is gratifying to be in the band that takes me back to my first musical love: Santana.

Meet: Rick Thibodeau | Bassist