Martin Fierro (saxophonist)

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Martin Fierro
Martin Fierro.jpg
Fierro in August 2005
Photo: David Gans
Background information
Born(1942-01-18)18 January 1942
DiedMarch 13, 2008(2008-03-13) (aged 66)
Marin County, California, U.S.
GenresRock, jam band, jazz rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsSaxophone, flute
Years active1960–2005
Associated actsMother Earth, Sir Douglas Quintet, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Grateful Dead Zero

Martin Fierro (January 18, 1942 – March 13, 2008) was a saxophonist who played with the Sir Douglas Quintet, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jerry Garcia.

Music career[edit]

Fierro was born in Mexico in 1942 and grew up in El Paso, Texas. He pronounced his name Mar-TEEN. He taught himself how to play saxophone and as a teenager participated in rock bands. He concentrated on jazz in his early 20s. He toured Mexico with a band, then moved to San Francisco and joined Mother Earth, a blues rock group led by Tracy Nelson. He became a member of the rock band the Sir Douglas Quintet in 1968. He also played with Quicksilver Messenger Service and James Cotton.[1]

In 1971, Fierro played saxophone and flute on Hooteroll?, an instrumental, free-form album by guitarist Jerry Garcia and keyboard player Howard Wales.[2] Three years later he joined another project by Garcia known as Legion of Mary. Like Garcia's Grateful Dead, Legion of Mary combined rock and blues with long improvisation.[3] He appeared on the Dead's album Wake of the Flood in 1973 and toured with them that year.[4]

In 1986, Fierro joined the Bay Area Jam Band Zero alongside founding members Steve Kimock, Bobby Vega, John Cipollina, and Greg Anton. The band is generally regarded as one of the foundational examples that pioneered the jam band style of playing. His tenure with the band would garner praise and even more affirmation of his improvisational prowess. In later years he played with the jam bands the String Cheese Incident and the Dark Star Orchestra. He also played local San Francisco Bay Area gigs with his Martin Fierro Jazz Quartet.

He was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2008.[1]


With James Cotton

  • 1968 Cut You Loose!

With Mother Earth

  • 1968 Living with the Animals
  • 1968 Revolution

With Sir Douglas Quintet

  • 1969 Mendocino
  • 1970 1+1+1=4
  • 1973 Texas Tornado

With Quicksilver Messenger Service

  • 1970 What About Me
  • 1986 Peace by Piece

With Howard Wales and Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and John Kahn/Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders/Legion of Mary

  • 1971 Hooteroll?
  • 1973 Wake of the Flood
  • 1997 The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute
  • 2004 Pure Jerry: Keystone Berkeley, September 1, 1974
  • 2005 The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 1: Legion of Mary
  • 2005 Legion of Mary: Absolute Mary
  • 2005 Garcia Plays Dylan
  • 2005 Garcia Plays Dylan Again
  • 2006 More Of The Best
  • 2013 Garcia Live Volume Three: December 14–15, 1974 Northwest Tour
  • 2018 Garcia Live Volume Nine: August 11, 1974, Keystone Berkeley

With Merl Saunders

  • 1973 Live at Keystone
  • 1997 Keepers

With Zero

  • 1987 Nothin' Goes Here
  • 1991 Live: Go Hear Nothin'
  • 1994 Chance in a Million
  • 1997 Zero Zero
  • 1998 Nothin' Lasts Forever
  • 2002 Double Zero Zero

With the String Cheese Incident

  • 2004 On the Road: 12-08-03 Redwood City, California[5]


  1. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Martin Fierro | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  2. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Hooteroll? - Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Legion of Mary | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  4. ^ Liberatore, Paul (15 March 2008). "Beloved saxophonist Martin Fierro dies at 66". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Martin Fierro | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2016.