10

John Martin: The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
The Hidden Notes—Spirit Of Adventure by saxophonist John Martin and his quintet (Ralph Wylde on vibes, guitarist Rob Updegraff, drummer Tim Giles and Tim Fairhall on bass) (mentioned briefly here) is a project that has had a four-year gestation. Calling the naturally occurring harmonics that are produced over the fundamental by all instruments the "hidden notes," Martin has put enormous effort into bringing out and controlling the harmonic possibilities of the saxophone through multiphonics, controlling the overtone patterns through different fingering and circular breathing (see here for more).

The important thing to realize, however, is that this is most definitely not a gimmick, and sounds completely natural in his hands. Furthermore, all of the compositions on this very impressive double CD release are by Martin, and it is only the music itself, as realized by the group, that ultimately matters to the listener. The "hidden notes" are but a part of Martin's arsenal, and his sound, which is admittedly unique (when he uses this extra technique), but quite easy to get used to, would not mean anything unless he and his music had something to say.

And say something he does. The band is very tight and functions as a single musical organism. The vibraphone and guitar of Wyld and Updegraff blend perfectly, functioning as a piano would in a "standard" saxophone quartet, but with more sonic possibilities.

Martin's compositions have an organic feel which is reflected in how they develop. Their construction, harmony and rhythms would place them within the "advanced mainstream" if a label needs to be assigned, and the pieces attract the mind as well as the body. Many of the grooves are infectious and will get you moving; yet there are enough intricacies and "out" playing for the mind.

On the first disc, there are two "Preludes" which are more experimental and dwell in the pure sound realm, and are actually quite interesting. Otherwise, each tune has a personality; "Pentacision, Part 1" has a loping rhythm upon the circular, overtoned theme is played, while "Heptopia" opens with airy vibes which is echoed by Martin's saxophone overtone and harmonics. "Spirit Of Adventure" is a real standout with a terrific groove and sectional development.

The second disc has only one "Prelude." "The Optimistic Pessimist" features a very nice line which Martin plays completely with multiphonics, and "Unity" would a nice, straight-ahead tune if not for the multiphonics. "Whisper" continues the use of multiphonics on a tune which is a bit quirkier while "Giant's Stomp" and "Eddies" have introductions which harken back to "Pentacision, Part 1."

The Hidden Notes -Spirit Of Adventure is a fine body of work that is music which can be enjoyed at many levels. Martin has indeed staked out some new territory and made it his own, and the discs are well worth extended listens.

Track Listing: CD 1: Pentacision, Part 1; Pentacision, Part 2; Heptopia; Prelude; Spirit Of Adventure; Prelude; Tick Tock; CD 2: The Optimistic Pessimist; Prelude; Folklore; Whisper; Giant's Stomp; Eddies; Unity.

Personnel: Ralph Wyld: vibraphone; Rob Updegraff: guitar; John Martin: tenor saxophone; Tim Giles: drums; Tim Fairhall: double bass.

Title: The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: F-IRE Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Down & Dirty Album Reviews
Down & Dirty
By Jack Bowers
July 21, 2019
Read Sublunary Minds Album Reviews
Sublunary Minds
By Troy Dostert
July 21, 2019
Read Peace Planet & Box of Light Album Reviews
Peace Planet & Box of Light
By Don Phipps
July 21, 2019
Read Hyperuranion Album Reviews
Hyperuranion
By Glenn Astarita
July 21, 2019
Read The Turning Album Reviews
The Turning
By Bruce Lindsay
July 20, 2019
Read Reveries and Revelations Album Reviews
Reveries and Revelations
By John Eyles
July 20, 2019
Read Live/Shapeshifter Album Reviews
Live/Shapeshifter
By Don Phipps
July 20, 2019