For some reason, no one is talking about Terrace Martin's Jazz Fest set this Thursday, and it's got me all fired up.

terrace martin photo
Terrace Martin, by Danny Liao

Who: Terrace Martin
What: Composer, producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist; jazz/funk/soul/hip-hop fusion extraordinaire.
When: Thursday, May 3, 4:15 p.m.
Where: WWOZ Jazz Tent at Jazz Fest
Why: Terrace Martin is easily one of the most talented musicians at Jazz Fest this year, and probably the most innovative (currently, at least. David Byrne had his moments.) But somehow, Martin’s presence at Jazz Fest 2018 has slid under the radar. He wasn’t listed on the initial lineup release, and his set has received literally no promotion on either his end or the festival’s. Fortunately, his work speaks for itself.

1. Velvet Portraits (2016) is a master class in harmony, rhythm and sound design. Each lush track flows gorgeously into the next, seamlessly weaving high-powered features (Thundercat, Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway) into its fabric.

2. He was heavily involved with the development and production of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, arguably the most important album of the 21st century thus far. While he’s only listed once in the liner notes, everyone close to the album talked about how essential he was to the creation of the revolutionary sound.

3. He recently stopped by New Orleans on tour with Herbie Hancock. The back-and-forth Hancock/Martin solos were the best part of that show.

4. This summer, he’ll be touring the world with some of the its most exciting musicians: Robert Glasper, Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin and Justin Tyson. The supergroup is calling itself Reflect+Respond=Now (R+R=Now for short). Martin’s Jazz Fest backing band has yet to be announced, but over half the members of R+R=Now are in New Orleans right now, so it’s not a stretch to think he might be joined by one or more of them.