I started playing classical guitar when I was 11 years old. Influenced by rock/blues, the music of that era, I also started to play the electric guitar. My switch to jazz eventually was heavily influenced by my brother-in-law, a well-known record producer, who showed me many great jazz recordings.
This love for jazz has never left me since because it allows me the freedom to develop a personal style within the community where everyone speaks the same language which leads to real connection.
Music kept pulling
After school I studied law for 3 years, but music kept pulling me in so finally I quit law and pursued music full force. I studied in Los Angeles at the Musician’s Institute in 1982 which has a very intensive advanced program of learning guitar 24/7 which made me realize even more that I wanted to be at and with the guitar 24/7 too.
Back in Amsterdam in 1983 I became a professional guitar player playing in various bands, winning a price for the best soloist at the Meervaart jazz festival and playing a.o. with the legendary Chet Baker and Toots Thielemans.
In 1985 I started teaching at the Conservatory in Hilversum at age 27 and – fast forward – between 2001-2016 I taught at the Conservatory in Amsterdam. Giving each student a personal treatment and developing their individual talent is what I liked most about teaching.
Between 1987-1991 I lived in Switzerland and was lucky enough to play and sing with Diana Krall on a 14-day tour and on her first record ‘Heartdrops’ with the music of bandleader Vince Benedetti. Playing at places like the infamous Widderbar and at the Jazz Festival of Montreux with great musicians made this a very inspiring time.
Since I have been back in Amsterdam in 1992, I’ve played with incredible musicians and in great bands, I did various (inter)national tours and made records that I am very proud of! To name a few: I toured 3 times with Dr Lonnie Smith, one of the greatest organ players in history, who told me ‘You’re bad’ which he meant in the right way 😉 I also toured with Larry Coryell, the godfather of fusion who defined my playing as ‘Intelligent and soulful’ and with organist Mike Le Donne and alto saxophonist Vincent Herring. Over the years I also often performed with Scott Hamilton in Italy and with Monty Alexander I played in Marian’s room in Bern.
In 2017, when legend Harold Mabern (pianist on Wes Montgomery’s only European tour in 1965) visited the Netherlands, we recorded the CD ‘Handshake’ as I was really only 1 handshake away from Wes!
With 4Beat6, the band that paid tribute to Benny Goodman, we had very successful tours in Europe on big stages and with my own Martien Oster Quartet I played on many stages with my own compositions.
In 2022 I spent half a year in Budapest (my wife is half Hungarian) and got really inspired by the local music scene. Why I was inspired you can read here in an interview that I gave for a local jazz magazine. Recently I formed my own Austrian/Hungarian/Dutch band OSZTRIGA and we will tour Hungary and Austria in April/May of 2023.
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