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Nigel Martinez

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Before moving to the U.S., Nigel Martinez was one of England's most sought after producers and session musicians. The Leicester, England native holds the distinction of the only producer from England signed to produce a Motown act, Louis Price. His first significant gig was as Real Thing's drummer; at the time, the British group was hot with a string of hits. He next drummed for Al Jarreau, touring with the Milwaukee Fog in Germany. Martinez cut a solo album on State Records in 1978 entitled Better Things To Come. He scouted talent for GTO Records and was instrumental in Billy Ocean's international success. During his teenage years, Martinez played with a local band name, Steam, who had a regular gig at an American Air Force base; they played some choice gigs, opening for James Brown and the Jackson 5. He became the hook up for American acts coming to Europe that needed musicians. When the Average White Band's drummer, Robbie McIntosh, died of an overdose, Martinez was pegged to replace him, but opted to go with Real Thing who seemed headed for a world of floss and benjamins. One of Martinez's first production plums was Light of the Worlds' Check Us Out LP. From there he met Billy Ocean and collaborated on tunes with the British-based singer, who sounds a bit like Edwin Starr. "Nights Feel Like Getting Down," became Ocean's first international hit, and it prompted calls from American artists including George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Rufus, Kool & the Gang, and Maurice White, requesting Martinez's services. He moved to America, settling in California, and was chosen by Berry Gordy's niece, Iris Gordy, to produce Louis Price, who sung with the Temptations when they left Motown and cut two LPs on Atlantic Records. Price, a Jerry Butler sound alike, wanted a younger sound and Martinez came up with a cooking rendition of the Jackson 5's "Dancing Machine," only to have it squelched by Michael Jackson, who caught wind of the session and thought the recording would interfere with his upcoming Bad album. He then busied himself producing Josie James and others but decided it was time for his second solo LP on Expansion Records. So Good resulted from years of seasoning, far more polished than his debut. ~ Andrew Hamilton