Graduate of UQTR in jazz and of the Conservatoire de Trois-Rivières in classical music, his studies put him in contact with a wide range of musical styles. He was a member of l’orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières (amongst other things, he played in the rythm section of David Palmer’s, ex-member of Jethro-Tull, rock-orchestra concert) and performed within the Montreal Metropolitain Orchestra and the Sherbrooke metropolitain orchestra.
Jean-François Martel also participated in René Lussier’s project, Le Trésor De La Langue with poet, Richard Desjardins. This led to a european tour and Le Trésor De La Langue was presented in Holland, Belgium, Germany and France. Member of Contrevent, in the 1990s, he also toured in many european countries to promote the group’s records. During that time, Jean-François Martel also worked in Canada and in Italy with Giorgio Conte. In addition to this, he produced the record of Giogio Conte’s guitarist, Luca Ghuilmeti, in the studios of Sony International in Milan. He also studied and gave courses at the Bass Center in New York under the supervision of jazzman, John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter) and played along with american drummer, Chester Thomson, (Frank Zappa, Genesis, Madonna) to complete his rythm section of his masterclass.
He accompanied, in live performances and on record, Anne Sylvestre, Dorothée Berryman, Marie-Claire Séguin, Suzie LeBlanc and Karen Young, these last two singers with excellent violinist Helmut Lipsky and his group, Unclassified. Today, Jean-François Martel continues to perform with Mr. Lipsky and other members of Unclassified, Karen Young, Suzie LeBlanc, New York pianist, Matt Herskowitz and Russian musician and bayan player, Vladimir Sidorov. He also collaborates with Helmut Lipsky in the production of musical scores for film and the Internet, as well as in the production of the album of Spanish singer Chus, in association with German and Suiss musicians.
He is also found of gypsy music and has recorded two albums with French violinist Charles Wizen, now living in New York. Jean-François Martel still performs with this vioinist whose musical style resembles that of Stéphane Grappelli. He has also played and participated in the recording of many blues records, namely those of Mike Goudreau and Americain bluesman, Allan Gerber. His interest for poetry leads him to play along poets in many events such as the Festival international de poésie de Trois-Rivières and more recently, La nuit de la poésie de Saint-Venant-De-Paquette, with singer Richard Séguin.
His interest for latin music lead him to La Havana, Cuba, where he studied with Cachaito Lopez, double bass player of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club and to perform, for many year, within the Cuban-Montreal group, Queba. He also was part of Cuban drummer, Ignacio Berroa’s (Dizzy Gillespie, Paquito D’Riviera et Michel Camillo) group at the Montreal Drumfest. In 2004, he gave a jazz bass workshop for students attending Universidad de La Havana. He also toured in western Canada with Canadian-Chilian group, Intakto (2003 album of the year of l’ADISQ, world music category and nominee for the same category at the Juno Awards), tour that lead to performances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2006.
In between concerts and recordings, Jean-François Martel likes to communicates his passion for music to his students of the Université de Montréal and Cégep de Sherbrooke.