Martin Speake: His Ideal
With My Ideal well-received, and gaining some attention on both sides of the Atlantic, Speake continues to remain busy, with a number of projects on the go. "I have a new record that's going to come out in September," Speake says, "with a trio that I've had probably longer than my quartet, with two Indian musicians, a tabla player and guitarist. In the last year or two we've been doing more concerts and eventually got a recording deal with Black Box, a subsidiary of Sanctuary, so this will be coming out on their jazz label. We're going to do some concerts in the autumn with the band, and I actually have high hopes for it, as it's something that can play more than just jazz venues.
"I'll also be doing a project that celebrates the anniversary of Charlie Parker's death, the 50th anniversary," continues Speake. "I'm organizing a tour to play his music, and I'll be arranging it a bit, but nothing drastically different except that it will be with Mike Outram on guitar rather than piano. I'd never listened to him with this level of detail, so I'm re-evaluating it and it's fantastic stuff. I'm hopefully going to record that in the autumn, so the album can be out for the tour in the spring."
Meanwhile Speake continues to work on honing his own skills and keeping things fresh, very much in the same way that guitarist John Abercrombie develops his playing. "I'm playing tunes, playing changes" says Speake, "and I'm also transcribing things, trying to internalize the language of music, like with the Charlie Parker project, just because I think there's so much in it. It's kind of fresh to me because I've never done it before. I also keep fresh by playing with different people, and I seem driven to do all these different projects, and I think that also keeps me fresh."
With a body of work that continues to grow at a pace that is remarkable in these days of artists only releasing a new album every two or three years, Martin Speake's discography is notable for its diversity of style and context. Hopefully his new releases will continue to see more exposure internationally, and Speake will gain the recognition he deserves as an alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader of consequence.
Martin Speake Discography (as a leader):
In Our Time (with John Paricelli, Steve Watts, Steve Arguelles) (1994)
Amazing Grace (with Phil Lee, Pete Saberton, Mick Hutton, Bryan Spring) (1997)
The Tan T'ien (with Nikki Iles) (1997)
Trust (with John Paricelli, Steve Watts, Steve Arguelles) (1998)
Martin Speake's Fever Pitch (1998)
Hullabaloo (with John Paricelli, Mick Hutton, Tom Skinner) (1999)
Secret (with Nikki Iles, Duncan Hopkins, Anthony Michelli) (2001)
Exploring Standards (with Mick Hutton, Tom Skinner) (2003)
My Ideal (with Ethan Iverson) (2004)
Visit Martin Speake on the web.