Led by vocalist Erik Martinez, Velocity performs an expansive repertoire, including jazz standards, R&B, Soul, Motown, Classic Rock, Contemporary Top 40, and everything in between. The band features world-class talent who have performed alongside Chaka Khan, Common, Wynton Marsalis, and Dianna Krall!
The inclusion of 3 lead vocalists in a 7-piece band is unique in Chicagoland, and it allows Velocity to perform with uncommon versatility. The band can be expanded by adding horns and violins as well. At any size, Velocity is a perfect choice for your special event!
Well-versed in rock, pop, R&B, and jazz, Erik Martinez is thrilled to be a part of the Arlen Music family. He has performed all over the United States at many of the finest venues from Los Angeles to New York with artists such as Kurt Elling, Fred Hersch, Norma Winstone, Darmon Meader, and Bobby McFerrin. He has performed in 80's bands, funk bands, and party bands and has 15 years’ experience as a professional singer. Before singing professionally he received a Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University and toured with the acclaimed vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company all over the United States and abroad. He has also been seen entertaining audiences in Mexico, the Bahamas, Spain, South Africa, and Turkey. He now enjoys using his experience singing all over the world to create amazing customized musical experiences for Velocity's fantastic clients. When not singing Erik enjoys working as a Physical Therapist, coaching baseball for his twins, and running ultramarathons.Read More
Carya Holmes is a versatile vocalist with over 20 years of experience. Carya has been honored to open for Chaka Khan at the Taste of Chicago, serenading the crowd with the National Anthem. She's appeared as a guest vocalist in Regina Taylor's play, Crowns, and she can be heard on music tracks with artists including Common and STAIND. Her soulful, melodic tone is a perfect match for Velocity!
Since graduating with a jazz performance/jazz voice degree from Roosevelt University, Leslie Beukelman has forged a central role in the Chicago music scene, thriving on her versatility as a musician and performer. She has been praised by many of Chicago’s top media outlets, being described as an “edgy and adventurous jazz and rock singer” (Neil Tesser, the Examiner) and an “Exquisite vocalist… (who has) mastered genres as vast as soul, melodic jazz, scat, rock and atonal experimentation…”(Lucia Mauro, Chicago Tribune). Leslie can be seen performing regularly around the city of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs in various projects belting out top 40 hits, engaging audiences with new original music, and creating improvised music alongside the city’s top musicians. She is excited to share her impressive talent with Velocity!
A native of the Chicago area, Paul has been playing piano since the young age of 6. As a high school senior, Paul won Illinois All-State jazz pianist and was awarded the Bertha Frost Scholarship by the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. At the university he studied under Doug Bickel and Shelly Berg and played in Miami's prestigious CJB Jazz Band and Miami Sextet. Paul now performs regularly around the Chicago area playing in various musical settings. Recently he toured and recorded in Italy with jazz group El Portal and has performed with such notables as Jim Black, Maria Schneider, Ira Sullivan, and Von Freeman. Paul is excited to be part of Velocity!
Since moving to Chicago from Florida in 1993, Tim Fox has established himself as one the most in-demand bassists in the city. Tim has performed with Chris Siebold & Psycles, M13, and has enjoyed long standing chairs in Rob Parton's JazzTech Big Band, the Illinois USO Troop, and Jeff Newell's New-Trad Octet. He was also the bassist for Chicago's record breaking six-year run of the musical Forever Plaid. Tim has toured in the U.S. and Europe, and often appears with artists passing through Chicago on tour, such as Dick Oates, Dave Berkman, George Garzone, Uri Caine, Ralph Alessi, Don Byron and Jim Black. While living in Florida, he worked regularly with Nat Adderly, and Buddy DeFranco. Tim has degrees from Florida State University and DePaul University, and has taught at Lake Forest College and Maine East High School. He currently resides in Crete, IL, with his wife and two children.
Drummer Lucas Gillan originally began making music in his hometown of Tucson, AZ, where he performed in punk rock clubs, churches, all-city jazz ensembles and youth orchestras. Since moving to the Chicago area, Lucas has enjoyed an active freelance career, regularly performing at venues including the Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, Lincoln Hall and Constellation. He has toured around the Midwest, in New York, and at the South By Southwest Music Festival. He leads and composes for a jazz quartet called Lucas Gillan’s Many Blessings, and is a member of the popular soul/R&B band The Right Now. We’re delighted to have him as a part of Velocity!
Jim Tashjian has been playing and performing music since he was 5 years old. At the Chicago College of Performing Arts, he had the opportunity to perform with notable jazz artists like Paul Wertico and Wynton Marsalis, and he was featured in the 2009 film "Public Enemies," starring Johnny Depp, backing up jazz superstar Dianna Krall. Jim is a freelance performer and teacher in Chicago, and is involved in numerous original music projects including; District 97, a progressive hard rock band, Miss Remember, an indy rock band of which he is the primary composer, and a trio he leads with bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Jon Deitemyer. He is excited to bring his multifaceted guitar technique to Velocity!
Amy Reichstein and Brandon Stec Wedding (Renaissance Chicago North Shore) - March 3, 2018
My wife, Marcie, and I would like to thank you for making our daughter’s wedding spectacular.
Velocity, with special thanks to Erik Martinez, provided the perfect backdrop for each element of the evening. We truly believe that while guests attend to celebrate an occasion, it is the music that sets the tone. Velocity proved this to be true.
Probably the best compliment we can pay you is that many guests remarked that if they ever got married again you would be called upon to provide the music. In fact we are still getting calls complimenting us on the night and especially the music.
So, thank you and your entire crew for making the evening everything we could have hoped for.
MacNeal Hospital Gala (Morgan Manufacturing) – Saturday, September 9, 2017
Another year, another rousing success for MacNeal! We're so glad we got to work with you again on this. Everyone was thrilled and had a fantastic time.
We look forward to the next great time with you!
Carey Goldenberg and Jacob Crows Wedding (Morgan Manufacturing) – Saturday, June 17, 2017
My husband and I booked Velocity for our wedding on June 17th at Morgan Manufacturing, and we cannot say enough wonderful things about Erik (band leader) and the entire band! From the beginning of our interaction, communication was clear and constant, and Erik dedicated time and effort into making sure that the music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception was what we had in mind. We had a few special requests for songs for our processional, recessional and first dance/parent dances, and Erik and the band arranged the songs for us as part of our contract (at no additional charge). When we booked the band, we were a bit nervous because we only saw the promotional video on their site, and since they are a wedding band, it is not appropriate to go to others' weddings to see them play live. However, I think we both agree that they were even BETTER than the video on the site, as evidenced by people on the dance floor the entire night! The party never thinned out, and this was in large part to how amazing Velocity was. Several of our guests commented on how great they were, and friends of ours even inquired with Erik about playing at their wedding in Madison next year! We had a specific list of songs we wanted played, not played, and songs we were indifferent about (based on their song list), and they listened to our requests and did a wonderful job at keeping the music varied, and keeping the party going. I cannot recommend them enough- they truly rocked!Carey, Bride
Molly Schlultz and Matt Gillis (Bridgeport Art Center) - Saturday, June 3, 2017
My daughter in law chose Velocity as the band for their June 3rd wedding at the Bridgeport Art Center. Erik and the band were PHENOMENAL! I can't say enough good things about them. Their mix of music was perfect and the dance floor was full the whole evening. We are still getting calls about how fantastic the whole night was and how much everyone loved the band. I would use Velocity and Erik again in a heartbeat! :-)Gary and Monique Gillis, Parents of the Groom
Lindsay Schwartz and Phillip Jacobson Wedding (The Langham) – Sunday, May 28, 2017
We booked Velocity for our wedding at The Langham and I cannot say enough amazing things about them! They listened to our requests from the planning meeting, played a great mix of music and had the dance floor packed the entire night! We are still having guests comment how amazing the band was! We highly recommend Velocity!Lindsay, Bride
Alex Pavlishin and Mark Jablonski – Sunday, October 16, 2016
All we can say is wow, you guys killed it! From the moment we entered the ballroom to the last song of the evening, everything was specatular. We could not have asked for a better group of musicians to not only play at our wedding, but celebrate with us. The whole evening was magical, and we owe a lot of that to you.Alex and Mark, Bride and Groom
Ronit Lever and Jonathan Efron – Sunday, September 25, 2016
We hired Velocity for our wedding and it was one of the best wedding decisions that we made! The dance floor was packed all night long. Our guests are constantly telling us how great the band was. Erik the bandleader was wonderful to work with, very flexible and professional. The band learned our first dance song just for our wedding. We had their pianist do our ceremony music and we were very happy with his performance. Highly recommended!!Ronit Lever, Bride
Amanda Labus and Dan Gelwicks Wedding (Hotel Inter-Continental) – Saturday, August 13, 2016
Our band made our wedding! We worked with Velocity at Arlen. The dance floor was packed and our guests were walking away saying "best wedding ever!" Erik, the band leader, is a seasoned professional. There wasn't a worry once the night started knowing that Erik was the MC.Amanda, Bride
Hilary Johnson and Michael Marano Wedding (Drake Hotel) – Saturday, September 3, 2016
Eric and the musicians were FANTASTIC !! The dance floor was FULL the whole night!!!
It was a happy and wonderful celebration!
Monica Caine and Alan Lippert Wedding (Renaissance Hotel) – Saturday, August 27, 2016
Erik and his bandmates in Velocity were terrific this past Saturday night at Monica and Alan’s wedding. From the wedding ceremony to the last song of the night, they earned so many compliments. A number of guests came up to Robin and me during the function and also the following morning telling us how much they enjoyed the band.
From my vantage point, the dance floor was never empty. All of the music Monica and Alan requested was played, and then some. Erik, especially, did a great job with Billy Joel’s “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel,” for our father/daughter dance, where, once again, a number of guests came up to me, not only complimenting the selection of this particular song, but especially mentioning how they enjoyed Erik’s rendition.