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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

CD Review: Martin Speake - Intention.

Martin Speake (alto); Ethan Iverson (piano); Fred Thomas (bass); James Maddren (drums)
(Review by Lance)
The opener, Becky, is a portrayal of an estranged father's sadness. It has a spooky feel to it with occasional hints of Norwegian Wood seeping through. Twister, the notes tell me, is a groove influenced by John Scofield and Eddie Harris. Speake wails, with perhaps a suggestion of David Sanborn, blowing the blues as to the manner born. Iverson, formerly of the Bad Plus slots in nicely. He and Speake go back to 1990 when they were both studying at the Banff Centre For the Arts. Iverson was only 17 at the time and Martin was impressed.

Several of the tracks are from earlier albums by Speake who says that he finds it fascinating to see how his approach has developed since his original recordings.
Apart from the leader, there is some brilliant piano from Iverson whilst Thomas' solos are quite compelling. Maddren is one of those drummers who seem to turn up on every other session by every other musician. He can handle whatever he's given and he doesn't let the side down here. Fills and solos, head on or restrained he does the business.
Dancing in the Dark is an unexpected choice and a far from familiar take. Reflective, laid back with an almost Stan Getz or Lee Konitz approach. Delicate, lyrical and...beautiful.
Charlie's Wig takes us into Bopland 2018. The Parker head gives way to a more contemporary groove with Maddren driving it like a man possessed and Speake in Coltrane/Coleman country.
Eleven tracks in all by four players at the top of their game. If you like your music to be contemporary without insanity this is as good as it gets.
Lance.
The album is to be released by Ubuntu Music on April 20 with launch concerts at Pizza Express on April 24 & 25. The band are also on tour but get no further north than Sheffield and Manchester.

1 comment :

Russell said...

Martin Speake does make it further north on June 15 to play two concerts in a day with the Paul Edis Trio - lunchtime at Durham's Gala Theatre (book now as it will be a sellout - tel 03000 266 600) and in the evening at Opus 4 Jazz Club in Darlington.

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