Bill Bragin: A Musicians’ Musician

July 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

With fans like Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Steve Gadd, Derek Trucks, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Wynton Marsalis, Pedrito Martinez is a true musicians' musician. Flickr/Martin Cohen.

Whenever I am looking for a place to bring out-of-town musical visitors, top on my list is  Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez’ weekly gigs at Guantanamera. My guests are always blown away. Winner of the Thelonious Monk competition for hand percussion, Pedrito is one of the finest percussionists in the country, if not the world, and his residency has helped his group develop near telepathic communication.  Seeing them at their home base at Guantanamera is like seeing Monk at the Five Spot, or The Ramones at CBGBs. The fact that he usually plays three nights a week, three sets a night with no cover charge, great food and mojitos is one of the true secret treasures of New York.  His gigs have become a pilgrimage for other musicians — fans include Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Steve Gadd, Derek Trucks, Giovanni Hidalgo, Wynton Marsalis — I’ve seen them all there firsthand, on multiple occasions. Pedrito is truly a musicians’ musician.

Bill Bragin is director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center, where he produces the popular Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals as well as programming for the Lincoln Center’s new David Rubenstein Atrium.

More My New York…

Mutual of America PSEG


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross.


© 2017 WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019