John Martin, the young British tenor saxophonist, is currently on a UK tour with this thoughtful and technically adventurous music, in a fittingly skilful quintet, including prizewinning Royal Academy vibraphonist and composer Ralph Wyldand guitarist Rob Updegraff.
Martin builds improvisations with a fine concern for tonal subtleties, shrewdly making use of multiphonic sounds and advanced fingerings, coupled with swing. The mix of the elegant Wyld’s rounded vibes glow and Updegraff’s jazz guitar fluency and spacey, ambient sounds with Martin’s caustic sax chords and byzantine, accutane note-spinning melodies, is often expressive, and the bass and drums pairing of Tim Fairhall and Tim Giles is perfect.
Cruising Latin swingers buzz with call-and-response exchanges, there are twilit interludes of soft out-breaths and cymbal flickers, and sidelong blues such as the catchy Folklore. Martin might not have sacrificed too much if he’d restricted himself to a single CD, and the multiphonics occasionally intrude, but he’s a distinctive voice and an explorer of restless promise. John Fordham – The Guardian