Jill Martini is a native southern Californian with Sicilian and French heritage - something that which filters through her music.
The home she grew up in was constantly filled with the sounds of the music her mother loved: Connie Francis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and other Italian-American entertainers. When she was very young, Jill would give performances for her family, singing at the top of her lungs for anyone who would listen.
Jill credits her father for exposing her to a wide variety of music styles which broadened her music knowledge tremendously. Her father, with his love for stereo hi-fidelity, would fill the house with all types and styles of music - everything from 1950's "do-wop" and "rock n' roll" music to 1960's "acid rock" and from 1970's "yacht rock" to 1980's pop. Jill spent many a happy time sailing and singing yacht rock.
Only later, when she became a teenager, did Jill learn to play the guitar from her step-father, a flamenco guitarist. Her step-father not only exposed her to flamenco guitar music, he exposed her to the music of guitar legends such as Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, and Al DiMeola.
Jill's music career actually started when she formed an all-girl, heavy-metal band called "Jealous Rage." They played in night clubs in Hollywood, California, such as the Troubadour, The Whiskey a-go-go, and Gazarri's.
Having no luck capturing that elusive record deal in Hollywood, she moved to British Columbia, Canada, and played with other musicians for about a year. Eventually she settled in Seattle where she played bass in various "grunge rock" groups, all the while composing her own style of music.
Jill came back to California after 3 years in Seattle and eventually became serious about playing the guitar again. After learning to sing jazz songs by studying the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Valaida Snow, and Les Paul and Mary Ford, Jill turned her attention to playing jazz guitar. Jill credits her husband Miles Lang for pointing her in the direction of jazz and for teaching her music theory which had been sorely lacking in her musical education.
Jill and Miles both studied together the music of the great Django Reinhardt and modern gypsy jazz guitarists such as Dorado Schmidt, Stocholo Rosenberg, John Jorgensen and Lulo Reinhardt. Miles and Jill attended several gypsy jazz festivals and have studied with Robin Nolan, Doug Martin, Gonzalo Bergara and John Jorgensen,
Jill and Miles formed the "Jill Martini Soiree' " in 2009 and have recorded 2 albums under that name. The album "Get Your Django On" is available on iTunes. The Jill Martini Soiree is sought after mostly for private events such as weddings, parties, awards ceremonies, and other special events.
Jill started playing ukulele while playing ukulele bass in "Rincon Tiki," a Hawaiian island/Polynesian-style ukulele group with two master percussionists, two other singer/ukulele players and a slide steel-guitar.
After a few years of playing bass in Rincon Tiki, Jill's musical direction moved to a more tiki-cocktail, exotica, traditional Hawaiian one. It was only natural that she should take up ukulele full time and invite her musical contributors from the Soiree to be part of her new group: Jill Martini and the Shrunken Heads.