Tony Martucci is an adjunct professor of drums at VCU, where he teaches private drum set lessons, Jazz Percussion Ensemble and Small Jazz Ensemble, as well as tours with VCU’s Mary Morton Parsons Jazz Masters, a faculty ensemble that presents solo and group sessions at schools throughout Richmond and beyond to acquaint children with jazz, funded by a permanent endowment donated by patrons of jazz through a challenge grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., Martucci’s professional career began more than 35 years ago. During that time he performed in clubs, at concerts and festivals, on television and recorded with such artists as John Abercrombie, Don Alias, Steve Allen, Mose Allison, Ray Anderson, Wayne Andre, Lynne Arriale, Derek Bailey, Pearl Bailey, Gary Bartz, Jamie Baum, Richie Beirach, Bob Berg, Gene Bertoncini, Keter Betts, Andy Bey, Ed Bickert, Paul Bley, Andrew Boiarsky, Paul Bollenback, Don Braden, Joshua Breakstone, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Nick Brignola, Rusty Bryant, Pam Bricker, Gary Burton, Henry Butler, Charlie Byrd, Cyrus Chestnut, Ann Hampton Callaway, Royce Campbell, Joe Cohn, Richie Cole, George Coleman, Johnny Coles, Cal Collons, Chris Conner, Junior Cook, Marc Copland, Andrew Cyrille, Eddie Daniels, John D’earth, The Drifters, Madeline Eastman, Ellery Eskelin, Tommy Flanagan, Michael Formanek, Sonny Fortune, Frank Foster, Nnenna Freelon, George Garzone, Danny Gatton, Drew Gress, Tim Hagans, Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Hardman, Tom Harrell, Bill Harris, Bill Heid, Joe Henderson, Fred Hersch, Conrad Herwig, Buck Hill, Ron Holloway, Shirley Horn, Carter Jefferson, Eddie Jefferson, Shelia Jordan, Laurence Juber, Barney Kessel, Ryan Kisor, Ralph Lalama, Jed Levy, David Liebman, Joe Locke, Joe Lovano, Brian Lynch, Mad Romance, Rick Margitza, Phil Markowitz, René Marie, Hank Marr, Keiko Matsui, Jack McDuff, Jon Metzger, James Moody, Dick Morgan, Mark Murphy, Hod O’Brien, Don Patterson, Rich Perry, Houston Person, Bobby Pierce, John Pisano, Valery Ponomarev, Tom Principato, Jim Pugh, Chuck Redd, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, Tim Ries, Claudio Roditi, Arlene Roth, Steve Rudolph, Allie Ryerson, Martin Stamm, Sonny Stitt, Byron Stripling, Charles Thomas, Gary Thomas, Thunderball, Dave Valentin, Roseanna Vitro, Bobby Watson, Walt Weiskopf, Kenny Werner, Larry Willis, Jack Wilkins, Don Wilner, Glenn Wilson, Dave Workman and Sam Yahel.
In 1990, Martucci was one of the founding members of the Russian-American joint venture jazz group Partners In Time, formerly known as Jazznost, that included Sergei Gurbeloshvili (tenor sax), Louis Scherr (piano) and Victor Dvoskin (bass) and toured both countries extensively from 1991-93. The group’s first CD, “Joint Venture,” was released on Timeless Records and received four stars from DownBeat. These musicians — joined by Gary Burton (vibes), Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Don Alias (percussion), Igor Butman (sax), Paul Bollenback (guitar) and Ken Willaman (cello) — then came together to record again as Partners in Time, resulting in the chart-climbing CD release, “Equinost” (Intersound).
Martucci also formed a trio with fellow Washingtonians pianist Louis Scherr and bassist Tommy Cecil. The trio has delighted audiences at concerts and festivals on four continents, including performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Their recording, “Warm Valley,” featuring tenor sax great Joe Henderson, was awarded four stars by DownBeat. Martucci is also known as a leader of his own ensembles and in 1990 released his first recording, “Earth Tones” (Sound Judgment), which was included in the top-ten favorite recordings of 1990 by the critics of JazzTimes. In 1994, Martucci followed that release with “Collage.” His international appearances also include such festivals as the Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), Vancouver (Canada) and San Remo (Italy) jazz festivals, while his regional concerts include engagements at The Smithsonian Institute, Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap and Carnegie Hall.
An active teacher for more than 25 years, Martucci has shared his knowledge and experience with hundreds of students ranging from beginners to professionals. He is currently on the faculty of Maryland Summer Jazz and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Maryland and the College of William and Mary. Alumni of his teaching studio are active in performing, publishing, video and recording production, radio and concert promotion. He has presented drum master classes at a variety of universities and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. His own teachers have included drummers Edward Manganelli, Bob Moses, Billy Hart, Joe LaBarbera and Allen Dawson; conga players Giovanni Hidalgo and Sam Turner; and tabla artist Broto Roy.
Of his work, Coda magazine stated, “Tony Martucci is a world-class drummer, vigorous yet refined — considerable percussive skills.” The Washington Post offered, “Martucci brings both color and drive to his first-class, cliché-free, ensemble effort.” “What distinguishes Martucci’s music is its pleasing level of abstraction: it leaves an aftertaste like dry white wine,” describes the Capital Times. Talking Drums stated that “Tony Martucci is a drumming musician who plays with his ears wide open, never intruding into other musicians’ space, but still managing to make his presence felt in a hundred little ways. Sonically, this recording is a joy.” And JazzTimes summed up his playing as follows: “Martucci and friends function as truly revolutionary artists forcing us to hear and think and feel anew. On top of that, it’s just damn good playing…. Tony Martucci is an exciting yet sensitive player with chops, taste and ‘big ears’ — one of Washington’s well-kept musical secrets.”