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Martin Speake / Alex Maguire: Feathers

Read "Feathers" reviewed by Matt Parker

A partnership which perhaps could and should have developed years ago, saxophonist Martin Speake and pianist Alex Maguire both attended the legendary Barry Jazz School in 1979 which featured an incredible cast of tutors ,including Stan Sulzmann, Keith Tippett, Gordon Beck, Allan Holdsworth and many other “A" list British jazz musicians. Amazingly Speake and Maguire failed to meet at this junction and would have to wait nearly 40 years for their paths to finally cross, at a chance meeting in ...

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Martin Speake: Intention

Read "Intention" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Celebrating his 60th birthday in April 2018, Martin Speake has been a stalwart of the British jazz scene for some forty years, initially playing with the saxophone quartet Itchy Fingers. He is lead alto saxophonist in the redoubtable London Jazz Orchestra and his teaching duties extend to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and London's Royal Academy of Music. In his review of Speake's album Change Of Heart (ECM, 2006), John Kelman summarised the saxophonist's playing perfectly: “Speake's playing ...

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Martin Speake: The Thinking Fan's Saxophonist

Read "Martin Speake: The Thinking Fan's Saxophonist" reviewed by Duncan Heining

British alto saxophonist, Martin Speake, is one of the most adventurous and articulate musicians in a music peppered with creative artists. That he is not a household name--even within the proscribed and marginalised world of jazz--says more about the times than it does about Speake or his single-minded approach to his art. Speake combines in his music a purposeful curiosity with a love of the jazz tradition. He is equally capable of flights into free improvisation and into ...

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Martin Speake: The Unquiet Mind

Read "Martin Speake: The Unquiet Mind" reviewed by Duncan Heining

We have here three very fine CDs from British alto saxophonist, Martin Speake. Speake is classically trained and when I first heard him in the late 90s, he brought to jazz a tone that emphasised the clarity of each note and the purity of the melodic line that was quite unusual in a music more used to the personalised sounds of a Hodges, a Bird, a Desmond or an Ornette. Over the years, his alto playing has perhaps become more ...

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Martin Speake: Generations

Read "Generations" reviewed by John Kelman

British altoist Martin Speake isn't as well-known as he ought to be, but he may well be the clearest successor to the unadorned, warm-toned approach of the legendary Lee Konitz. But while Konitz has undeniably led a career defined by diversity, Speake has stretched considerably farther, with albums ranging from the Indo- centric The Journey (Black Box, 2004) and uniquely modern, guitar-centric take on Charlie Parker (Jazzizit, 2005), to accessible free improvisation with percussionist Mark Sanders on Spark (Pumpkin, 2007) ...

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Martin Speake / Mark Sanders: Spark

Read "Spark" reviewed by John Kelman

British altoist Martin Speake has made a career out of doing things differently. With Exploring Standards (33 Records, 2003) he adopted a decidedly minimalist and miniaturist approach to jazz standards. Charlie Parker (Jazzizit, 2005) presented a modernistic alternative to most of the tributes recorded for the 50th anniversary year of the legendary saxophonist's death. So it should come as no surprise that Spark puts a decidedly personal spin on free improvisation. The idea of an entire album ...

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Martin Speake: Change Of Heart

Read "Change Of Heart" reviewed by Budd Kopman

One of the more interesting extra-musical things to observe in jazz is how the connections between musicians happen, and then, of course, how those connections affect the music they produce. In 1993, Martin Speake connected with Paul Motian, and they toured as a trio with bassist Mick Hutton, playing both Speake's and Motian's compositions. Fast forward seven years to 2000 and Speake added Bobo Stenson to the group, playing and composing music that was sensitive to both ...

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Martin Speake: Change of Heart

Read "Change of Heart" reviewed by John Kelman

Change of Heart, alto saxophonist Martin Speake's first recording for ECM, will no doubt garner him some well-deserved international exposure. But he's been a fixture on the British scene for two decades, with a varied discography that a larger audience will now hopefully explore. This disc presents only one facet of Speake's interests, but it's as strong an entry point as any to his recent discography, which has included the exceptional Indian-influenced The Journey (Black Box, 2004) and an innovative ...

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Martin Speake: Change Of Heart

Read "Change Of Heart" reviewed by Nic Jones

A certain clarity of purpose has always run throughout the documentation of Martin Speake's music on record. In an aspect of his career that has taken in quartets, an alto sax/piano duo and a saxophone quartet, Speake has proven himself to be a musician and composer with the ability to pursue his own vision. This quartet disc is thus a whole lot more than the latest evidence on record of his musical development, it is also perhaps the best-realised documentation ...

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Martin Speake: Charlie Parker

Read "Charlie Parker" reviewed by John Kelman

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of saxophonist Charlie Parker's death, all manner of tributes are likely to crop up. Italian saxophonist Stefano di Battista has already released the reverent Parker's Mood. But when British saxophonist Martin Speake spoke in an interview last year of doing a Parker tribute, given his proclivity for placing a more personal stamp on his projects--as evidenced by Exploring Standards' refashioning of well-heeled tunes into brief miniatures of remarkable depth--one could be certain that ...

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Martin Speake: The Journey

Read "The Journey" reviewed by John Kelman

Alto saxophonist Martin Speake continues to be an all too well-kept secret in the UK. With a discography that has ranged from the more free-flowing extemporization of The Ta T'ien to the intimate Amazing Grace , from the world music view of Fever Pitch to a unique take on Exploring Standards , Speake's career has been defined by a clear sense of the lyrical that pervades everything he does. And with his work finally appearing on labels with wider distribution, ...

INTERVIEWS

Martin Speake: His Ideal

Read "Martin Speake: His Ideal" reviewed by John Kelman

Alto saxophonist Martin Speake may be well-known in his native England but a bit of a well-kept secret when it comes to exposure in North America, where he deserves a wider audience. With a sound that is influenced by artists as diverse as Ornette Coleman, Paul Motian, Keith Jarrett and Steve Coleman, and a compositional style that embraces elements including Indian and Arabic music, he has already amassed a significant body of work that demonstrates his breadth, focus and ability ...


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