Bill Martinez and Arturo Riera have worked together over 10 years presenting the top Latin Jazz and Salsa groups in the world in the Bay Area.  They first kicked off the Bay Area craze for Cuban music by presenting Cuba’s #1 dance band,  Los Van Van in the 90’s.  Over 5 years they presented every major Cuban group including Los Van Van, Cubanismo, Crisol, Vocal Sampling, N.G. La Banda, Sierra Maestra, Jane Bunnet and the Spirits of Havana, Chucho Valdes, Bamboleo, Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Pancho Quinto, Los Papines and many more. They have also presented many US based Jazz artists such as Eddie Palmieri and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.


Currently Martinez and Riera serve as co-presenters with cultural organizations such as the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.  Together they launched the San Francisco Latin Jazz Festival at the Gardens and help curate the Latin Jazz Series along with festival director, Linda Lucero.


Martinez recently held an international gathering of artistic presenters who question the Cuban Embargo and new restrictions placed on artists as part of the Patriot Act.  He was also a signatory of an international artists petition to improve artistic relations with Cuba introduced into the U.S. Congressional Record in 2008. Martinez is an Immigration Attorney working with artists.  He also consults with artists and film-makers wishing to perform  or make cultural exchanges in Cuba .  One of his recent projects was making arrangements for the Cuban portion of Michael Moore’s recent movie, “Sicko” . He was also responsible for Audioslaves’ recent “Live in Cuba” recording.


Riera is Director of Sales Development for the CBS Owned TV Station Group in San Francisco. In 2008 Riera was one of the winners of the Silicon Valley Arts and Business Leadership Award. He was awarded the Latino Business Leadership Award from the San Francisco Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2007.  It was the first award ever presented for the arts.  As part of the award Riera received recognition from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California State Senate, California State Legislature and the US Congress.  He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of both San Jose Jazz and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and a co-founder and director of the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco. In 2007 he launched www.misterlatinjazz.com to document his cultural activities with his own photos and videos.  The California State Legislature has officially confirmed his title as “Mister Latin Jazz”.


 

Top: Audio Slave Platinum selling DVD.


Middle: Bill Martinez at the San Francisco premiere of “Sicko”


Bottom: Latino Business Leadership recognition from the US Congress signed by San Francisco’s own Nancy Pelosi