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Marlonius Jazz Orchestra Future Plans

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Hi I’m Marlon Martinez. I'm a millennial, BIPOC musician and artist in Los Angeles. I’m a bass player, composer, bandleader and the Artistic Director of my band, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. MJO is a 17-member group that plays big band jazz. We are continuing the 20th century legacy of big band music by performing my original compositions in our time. Marlonius Jazz Orchestra is also dedicated to reviving the music of jazz legend Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967), a black, queer icon who composed some of America’s most popular jazz classics and is a pioneer of black American music.

I began Marlonius Jazz Orchestra officially in 2018 with the dream of performing Billy Strayhorn’s lesser known music and forgotten gems. Billy Strayhorn was not a household name in his lifetime, and he was subject to serious discrimination and lack of public recognition for his achievements. Thanks to a series of events that led me to connect with Billy Strayhorn’s family heirs, my dream has come true. With the generous support of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc., the Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra performs Strayhorn’s big band orchestrations, well known compositions as well as rare pieces I’ve always wanted to resurrect! In 2022 my alma mater, the Colburn Conservatory Of Music, invited me as an Artist-In-Residence to present Marlonius Jazz Orchestra in a special tribute concert of Billy Strayhorn compositions for the inaugural Amplify Series. We recorded Billy Strayhorn music, and I released an educational video series with the Colburn School called Ever Up and Onward: A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn.

Now I’m ready to make bold moves with Marlonius Jazz Orchestra beyond one residency. I want my band to last for the rest of my career, releasing new music, presenting new Billy Strayhorn tributes, reaching audiences, festivals and educational institutions abroad. I want Marlonius Jazz Orchestra to become a 501 c3 non-profit organization. Going non-profit will enable Marlonius Jazz Orchestra the means to expand our audience and empower the communities that jazz enriches, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

This GoFundMe is my first attempt at 1) raising the necessary incorporation funds to go non-profit 2) raising the funds needed for six band rehearsals to perfect our performances 3) raising the funds to record an original project of mine called the Audrey Hepburn Suite. These are new compositions inspired by Audrey Hepburn, the actress, beauty icon, mother and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Your donations will mean the world to me and the band! I will gladly share your names on my website, and will send each donor exclusive links to new music releases, concert clips and VIP access to upcoming events!

— 501 c3 Non-Profit Incorporation Costs: $700
— Six Rehearsals: $5100
— Audrey Hepburn Suite Recording: $18,000

Big band jazz is a symbol of democracy, with freedom of expression and collaboration as the centerpiece, and they must be spearheaded by the fresh faces of jazz today.



  • Tina Houy
    • $250 
    • 11 mos
  • Evangeline Thomson
    • $250 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $11 
    • 1 yr
  • Steven Strange
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Kelvin Garvanne
    • $50 
    • 1 yr


Marlon Martinez
Brea, CA

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