Martin was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He won Second Place at the 1993 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
Martin is musical director and pianist for Dianne Reeves and arranged and played music for her Grammy Award-winning soundtrack to the motion picture Good Night, and Good Luck. He also appeared in the film.
In September 2008 he was appointed lecturer in jazz studies at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He has also been on the music faculty at Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
Martin has been a member of Chris Botti's touring band and in 2009 toured extensively with Christian McBride. He has recorded with Victor Goines, Johnny Griffin, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves and Rodney Whitaker. Other artists with whom he has performed include Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove, Ellis Marsalis, Christian McBride, David Sanborn and Stanley Turrentine.
Martin has released two albums on the Max Jazz label, Something Unexpected (2001) and In The P.M. (2005). In 2009, Martin released his first solo CD, Set of Five on his own label, Peter Martin Music produced by Dan Martin.
In October 2015, Martin released an album, What Lies Ahead, on Open Studio Records, featuring his trio of Reuben Rogers, bass and Gregory Hutchinson, drums and special guests Vocalists Erin Bode, and Brian Owens produced by Dan Martin. It was recorded in his home town of St. Louis.
In January 2011, Martin played at the White House as part of the State Dinner the President Obama held welcoming the president of China.
After launching a casual educational video podcast, 2-Minute Jazz, Martin launched a website in 2011 that is a members-only jazz piano lesson site with video lessons and online master classes containing premium concepts and content. Students from over 40 countries have joined and are continuing to learn from Martin.