Maurice M. Martinez, Ph.D. is a Renaissance man. A New Orleans-born poet (often referred to as ‘Marty Most, Jazz Poet,’ the Crescent City’s original beat poet), photographer, musician, filmmaker, host narrator (radio/video/film), he is Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A protégé of Langston Hughes, Dr. Martinez is steeped in the African American culture through both his heritage and scholarly endeavors. He has written numerous articles about the Mardi Gras Indians, and his award-winning film (the first definitive treatment on the history and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians) titled: THE BLACK INDIANS OF NEW ORLEANS (1976) edited by Sam Pollard of Spike Lee fame, is considered a classic. It was shown for a full week at the New York Whitney Museum’s New Filmmakers Program, and received a favorable review in The New York Times. Dr. Martinez is frequently called upon by Arts and Cultural Centers to present keynote speeches on the sociocultural history of the Black Indians of Mardi Gras. He has published three college textbooks. His study of the cultures and rhythms in Brazil and New Orleans was featured in the annual Tom Dent Congo Square lecture at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2001. While a professor at Hunter College, CUNY, Dr. Martinez was artistic director for several of the Caribbean Cultural Center’s Expressions concerts, including Trumpet Traditions, with Wynton Marsalis, and Carnival in New York at Lincoln Center. In addition, Dr. Martinez was the host on National Public Radio, WNPR, of a 15 part program series titled North Carolina Blue Notes that focused upon the lives of famous Jazz, Blues, and R&B musicians born in North Carolina, such as John Coltrane, Theloneous Monk, Max Roach, Nina Simone, Blind Boy Fuller, Percy Heath, etc. Dr. Martinez earned his B.S. degree at Xavier University of New Orleans, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He taught for 51 years before retiring: 8 years in New Orleans at J. S. Clark and Carver Senior High School; 24 years at Hunter College, and 19 years at UNCW. While on a two-year Ford Foundation grant to do field research, he introduced ‘Free Jazz’ to Brazil in a 14 concert tour sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. His quintet: Grupo Calmalma de Jazz Livre featured 3 Brazilians: Vitor Assis Brasil, sax; Guilherme Vaz, piano; Lula Nascimento, drums; and 2 Americans: Wayne Maddalena, trumpet, and Maurice Martinez, string bass. His musical CD release (2002), titled DRUMSCUSSION features a cross-fertilization of the drum rhythms of Brazil and New Orleans as performed by master drummers, Jorge Alabe, Uganda, and Charles ‘Honeyboy’ Otis. To date, Dr. Martinez has produced 36 documentary films. His film footage was used on HBO in Spike Lee’s four hour documentary about Hurricane Katrina, WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE. Among his many films, COLORED WHITE BOY, THE QUORUM: ARRESTED IN NEW ORLEANS FOR INTERRACIAL GATHERINGS AT A COFFEEHOUSE and TOO WHITE TO BE BLACK, TOO BLACK TO BE WHITE: The New Orleans Creole, are the most popular.

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