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Born in Sacramento in 1942, saxophonist/flutist MEL MARTIN has been a mainstay of the San Francisco jazz scene since the mid-1960s. In the 1970s he formed the group Listen, and in 1983 launched another innovative ensemble, Bebop and Beyond. The band's recordings include a critically acclaimed collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie, the trumpeter's last studio date. Martin has received four NEA grants for both composition and recording projects. His friendship with Benny Carter dates back to the mid-1980s and includes two tours of Japan with Carter's orchestra. Martin also assembled big bands for Carter's appearances in the Bay area. In 1994, Martin recorded his superb Mel Martin Plays Benny Carter (Enja), which includes several performances with Carter recorded live at Yoshi's in Oakland. In July 2007, Martin released additional tracks from that engagement on a new CD, Just Friends (Jazzed Media).