Terrace Martin | The Virgil | 1/22/14

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A tip for any avid concert goer living in Los Angeles: ALWAYS  find a concert or two to go to during Grammy Week. During the week immediately preceding the awards ceremony, amazing musical talent from all over the world flocks to Los Angeles to join in the celebration of music, whether to attend the ceremony as a nominee, to perform in the city of angels to showcase their own musical abilities for the throngs of A&R, talent agents, talent managers, critics and fans who happen to be in town to celebrate music with them or to just play gigs with their friends.

When I found out that Terrace Martin would be playing a gig that week, I knew it would be something special. I would have gone if it were any other weekend, but my level of excitement for the potential musical IQ that would be in the room playing with him that evening skyrocketed.

I got to the venue early enough to watch him soundcheck and the stage was packed with gear. By my count,  there were four keyboards, a full drum kit, a congo kit, an amp for a bass, three microphones for vocalists, and a corner nook with enough space to fit up to three horn players. I was giddy with anticipation.

Let’s see here … these were some of the players who joined Terrace for the gig: Chris Cadenhead (who has played with Wyclef Jean, Carl Thomas and Trick Daddy), Craig Brockman (who has produced Madonna, Missy Elliot, Tweet and Beyonce), Robert “Sput” Seabright (who plays in the Grammy Nominated band Snarky Puppy), Ethan “Ebassman” Farmer (who has worked with Janet Jackson, Babyface, Patti LaBelle and Darius Rucker), Nathan Werth (who also plays with Snarky Puppy), Brandon Coleman (who has worked with Stanley Clark, Boney James, Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder and Earth Wind and Fire), Ronald Bruner (a grammy award winning drummer who not only has played with Diana Ross, the Temptations and Gladys Knight, but also happens to be Thundercat’s brother), Wyann Vaughn, Javonte Pollard and Preston Harris.

Needless to say, the level of musicianship at this gig was out of this world. The set opened with Wyann reciting the spoken word passages from Terraces latest album “3ChordFold” accompanied by keys. The rest of the players took the stage during and after the spoken word, and selections from “3ChordFold” were performed.

After the 3ChordFold selections, Terrace took time to acknowledge the talent that graced the stage with him. He singled out Robert Seabright as an important influence early on in his career, and was incredibly humbled and thankful that they could share a stage together before the Grammys for which they both had been nominated: Terrace for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s album “Good Kid M.a.a.d City” and Robert for his work with Snarky Puppy. By the way, Robert’s keyboard solo during “I Can’t Help It” in the video below is MIND-BLOWING.

He gave all of the musicians time to shine with solos. Ethan Farmer’s bass solo was RIDICULOUS. After Ron Bruner’s drum solo, Terrace mentioned that he’s known Ron since he was 11 years old and that he’s one of his three favorite drummers, and that he was still looking for a third.

Terrace called audibles throughout the show, pulling inspiration for his setlist from the talent that was on stage.  Craig Brockman was a writer of the Tweet song “Smoking Cigarettes”, and Terrace decided to have that song performed with Wyaan, and the audience, singing the verses and chorus. After stopping the song, Terrace preached that, “A hit record always wins.” True.

Towards the end of Terrace’s set, he stated to the audience that he wanted to take full advantage of the talent on stage with him, and announced that he wanted to cover “Butterfly”, a track off of Herbie Hancock’s 13th studio album “Thrust” (an album that is equally as “classic” as Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking “Headhunters”). They did Herbie proud.

The evening of music was basically a master class of epic proportions. When I caught up with Terrace after the gig, he was glowing with excitement. I told him that it was an amazing gig, and that with talent like that up on the stage to play with, you can’t go wrong. He wholeheartedly agreed, and said that that was “it”.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

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