On Martin Speake
”Think of Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Giuffre, or our own Bobby Wellins,
Tony Coe or
Martin Speake -
all Emily Dickinson lyric poets.”
- The Independent
"Martin Speake is
one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on
- Jazz Times
Sunday, April 22nd
Martin Speake Quartet featuring Ethan Iverson
“Speake's playing can be as enigmatic as his writing. The lyricism and subtlety of both his written and improvised melodies sometimes
unfold so gradually, that one needs to take a mental step back to absorb it all.” - All About Jazz
British alto saxophonist Martin Speake has recently rekindled a musical alliance with one of the most high-profile of the new breed of exciting and innovative American jazz pianists, The Bad Plus's Ethan Iverson.
It was in 2002 Martin and Ethan last performed together - as a duo touring the UK and Scotland, following the release of My Ideal, a ballad album of standards. Now, 15 years on, they're back together to record an album of Martin’s compositions due for release in 2018.
Citing Lee Konitz, Charlie Parker, Warne Marsh, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Ornette Coleman as major influences, Martin first came to public attention as a founder-member of the award-winning saxophone quartet Itchy Fingers, during the height of the UK’s so called ‘80s Jazz Revival’, later forming his own quartet.
Martin has developed a personal musical voice that expresses a deep understanding of the history and language of jazz, with an individuality as an improviser that is intelligent, melodic, cool, complex, direct, beautiful and profound.
A strikingly talented musician whose style is reminiscent of Paul Desmond's smoothness but with the muscularity of Charlie Parker, Martin has a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration.
A musician whose classically informed writing and playing has been likened to that of Brad Mehldau, Ethan's worked with musicians such as Billy Hart, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lee Konitz, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Ron Carter, Paul Motian and Charlie Haden.
In the late 90s Ethan released Construction Zone (Originals) and Deconstruction Zone (Standards) in tandem, with the latter being hailed by the New York Times as a Top Ten pick for that year. His follow-up, The Minor Passions, was similarly hailed by the paper.
After the turn of the millennium, however, Ethan achieved perhaps his greatest visibility as a member of The Bad Plus, with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King, the New York Times commenting that the trio was ". . . better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60s jazz and indie rock.”
Until recently, The Bad Plus’ repertoire always had a reputation for making the word eclectic appear narrow and limiting, ranging from Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to covers of hits by the Pixies, Aphex Twin and Nirvana, tempered by a series of originals from all three trio members that often contained a variety of stylistic sources that are sometimes mischievously referenced.
This is a rare opportunity to hear Ethan in concert outside of London - and with arguably the UK's finest altoist, backed by two top-drawer musicians in Fred Thomas (Double Bass) and James Maddren (Drums).
On Ethan Iverson
" . . . a dazzling exposition by a uniquely idiosyncratic virtuoso-scholar of jazz." - The Guardian
". . . he played the daylights out of a programme of jazz standards – exhibiting a hard-driving resourcefulness over long solos to rival some of the world's best-known post-bop practitioners."
- The Guardian
Tickets £15 / £13 Concessions
Doors: 7.00pm. 1st Set: 7.30pm