Several years ago, Paul Martinez was being held captive by an unscrupulous cell of woodworkers somewhere in the Mittenwald region of Germany. After endearing himself to his captors over many barrels of sketchy ale, he cut them a deal. He wagered his release on the successful completion of a thorny calculus problem. As Martinez was about to walk free through the heavy gate in front of the drafty German castle where he had been living for several months, he spied the bass.
It was a young instrument, in perfect condition with a honey-colored finish, five strings and the head of a lion carved where the scroll should be. He froze in his tracks, turned to the chief jailer and begged him for a double-or-nothing new bet. An even larger chalkboard full of equations later, Martinez was on the road carrying a new six-foot tall maple/spruce partner-in-crime with him.
Martinez busked his way through Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy, France and finally Spain. He played swinging gypsy Jazz, hard Bebop and crazed polka. He tramped through tiny towns and hitched his way through major metropolitan areas remaining loyal to his bass. When no one wanted to pay for music, he washed dishes for food and recited epic poems for lodging.
Eventually, he begged passage back to the states on a cargo ship transporting plastic wrapped Jaguar SUVs by playing Beatles tunes and Bach for the mostly British crew.
After working for some time in the blueberry fields of Ohio and Indiana, Martinez made his way to the Chicago area and Leonum. He’s been playing with them ever since.