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The leader of Bebop & Beyond and a versatile bop-based reed player with an open-minded style, Mel Martin has been a fixture in San Francisco since the 1970s. He had his first gig when he was 14 and after attending San Francisco State, he dropped out to become a professional musician. Among His early associations among rock groups were with Santana, Azteca, Cold Blood, Boz Scaggs, and Van Morrison, in addition to working in the studios. During 1977-1978, he led the adventurous fusion band Listen, a group that recorded two albums for Inner City and included among its sidemen steel drum wizard Andy Narell. In 1983, after recording a duet album (for Catero) with guitarist Randy Vincent, Martin formed Bebop & Beyond, a band that has since recorded for Concord and Bluemoon, including tribute albums to Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie; Gillespie participated on the latter. Among Bebop & Beyond's sidemen have been Vincent, George Cables, Eddie Marshall, and Warren Gale, with such guests on their albums as John Handy and Howard Johnson. In addition to performing music from the Charles Mingus songbook with Bebop & Beyond, Martin recorded a solo Enja set of Benny Carter tunes. ~ Scott Yanow