Born in 1951 and raised in Los Angeles, Marty's early interest in music was prompted at age 5 by chasing his baby brother in circles under a grand piano as their father played Chopin, Beethoven and Scriabin. His father also installed a remote loudspeaker in his bedroom so he could sleep with the classics, as well as music by Stravinsky, Shoenberg, Webern and other modernists. His first instrument was the clarinet, followed by saxophone in high school, and later flute and oboe. First jobs were in community opera orchestras and symphonies while still in grade school, but by this time Krystall also developed an interest in popular music and learned to transpose piano music on the Bb clarinet during lunch hour with piano players sight-reading pop, rock and jazz in the school auditorium. When he entered Venice High he joined their stage band on tenor and studied privately with Hollywood studio musicians Bill Green, Gary Gray and John Neufeld.
After graduating high school Marty moved to Venice beach, CA in 1968 and supported himself as a woodwind instructor at a music store and playing R&B and jazz gigs in Hollywood. By 1969 he was learning to master the tenor sax by practicing, rehearsing, instructing or performing 18 hours a day for several years. A typical day started at 11am, when the first rhythm section arrived. Musicians from south-central Los Angeles to the Hollywood and valley areas were all anxious to jam, even though Marty never had a gig. "In 1969 musicians of all ages and accomplishments were just into playing music, inspired by all of the great Blue Note and Impulse recordings by Trane and Miles and Gil Evans. I just tried to learn how to play hot and modern! It never occurred to me to get a jazz gig." After lunch another rhythm section would arrive. Then after teaching for three hours at the music store Krystall made his R&B gig in Hollywood at the "Sould Out" club from 9pm till 2am. From there he drove to south central LA to "Hazel and Herb's" soul food restaurant - his after hours gig where there was a Hammond B-3 and often Ahmad Jamal's guitarist Calvin Keys. At 6am Hazel would serve an enormous breakfast and then he'd head home for a few hours sleep until the 11am jam session. He managed to keep this schedule for over two years!
There was also a revolutionary aspect to Krystall's music. This started during the 1970 riot at UCLA while Marty was a student there. The riot was in sympathy to the notorious Kent State massacre where the national guard shot three students during a Vietnam war protest. Marty found himself blowing calvary charges and protest licks at the LAPD on the tenor, then being chased by riot police. He survived the violence to join Albert Collins at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and soon dropped out of college to continue his studies full time.
His association with bassist Buell Neidlinger led to their partnership in several groups: The El Monte Art Ensemble (1971-74); Krystall Klear and The Buells (1975-1981) which led to K2B2 Records; Buellgrass (1981-1983), Thelonious (1984-1990), and Aurora (1987-1990), touring in the U.S., Italy, Germany and Holland. In 1979 they formed K2B2 Records to finally document their avant-garde explorations.
Krystall concurrently was involved with other rock, R&B and jazz groups including the Peter Ivers Band, Van Dyke Parks, Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth Orchestra and Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, as well as appearing on recordings of Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Leo Kottke, Keith Moon, Little Jimmy Scott and Terrence Blanchard. Marty has also performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and TASHI (led by pianist Peter Serkin). He has also been active in the LA studio scene as a clarinetist and doubler since 1972, and has been featured on the orchestral underscores of motion pictures on clarinet in "X-Men,""As Good As It Gets," "101 Dalmations," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Minority Report," "Multiplicity," "Hero," "Jack," "The Three Jakes,""Forrest Gump," "Soylent Green," "Bewitched," "Fantastic 4 II,"and on saxophone in "Flubber, "The Flintstones," "When Harry Met Sally," "Other Peoples Money," "The Kid" and"The Mummy Returns," among hundreds of others.
He created the jazz program at Cal Arts, The Aspen Music Festivals and Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles and conducted master classes at the Conservetory of Rotterdam. His 20-year study with Glen Johnston and association with Rheuben Allen of Artist Tech led to the developement of his signature clarinet barrel, the Krystall Convert-a-bore clarinet barrel system.
He resides in Harvard Heights, the first suburb of Los Angeles in a 1908 Craftsman home ("The Krystall Palace") with his wife Trinidad and their three sons: Benjamin, Matthew and David, where he smokes pipes and protiens with fruitwood in his outdoor smoker simultaneously across from his vegetable garden.