John Martin Quartet “Dawning”


John Martin Quartet – Dawning

John Martin – tenor and soprano sax, Tim Fairhall – double bass, Andy Ball – drums,  Jonjo Grisdale – piano.

Press Release

‘Dawning’ is the debut album from the John Martin Quartet and reveals a young saxophonist/composer with a warm and engaging voice. The eight original tracks (all by Martin) that make up the album have a strong sense of melody with thoughtful interplay between the composed elements and the supple improvisations of the Quartet.

After studying composition with Nikki Iles and Eddie Parker at Middlesex University, John Martin went on to play as a sideman in many bands on both the jazz and world music scenes. During this time he worked hard on developing his own sound, studying the masters of the music and immersing himself in the rich cultural diversity that the many different London music scenes have to offer.

‘Dawning’ represents the starting point of a journey full of promise. It has been recorded beautifully at Artesuono studio in Italy, and is characterized by a warm and open sound, and a certain emotional directness (which is nonetheless far from naïve). Martin’s uncluttered improvisations and the dynamic structures created by the band respond to a wide range of inspiration, from English jazz and folk and the ECM sound to Wayne Shorter and the downtown New York scene. The artwork was painted from the music by Jon Braley, who was a finalist in 2010 for the prestigious John Moores painting prize.


“ A lovely album”  Kenny Wheeler

“One of 2011’s most pleasing new discoveries…a remarkably mature and assured statement from such a young musician… If he can maintain these standards he is surely destined to become a major figure on the UK jazz scene” Ian Mann The Jazz Mann

“the lyrical sway of Andy Sheppard, the atmospherics of Jan Garbarek, the pensiveness of Kenny Wheeler and the country-chime of early Keith Jarrett…. this quartet are players of real promise” John Fordham, The Guardain

“Dawning introduces an engaging young saxophonist.. with a soulfulness which seems to have been surgically removed from many young Jazz Studies alumni” Chris May, all about jazz

“Dawning is one of the most fascinating and beautiful releases of the year so far, and it’s a quite stunning debut effort for such a young group of musicians.” Rainlore’s World of Music

“This is an honest, cohesive and sophisticated release – a band to listen out for in 2011 and a credit to the F-ire topamax collective “Iain Ballamy

“Engaging debut from the Wheeler and Ballamy-backed saxophonistKenny Mathieson The List

“Martin’s is an affecting, attractively fragile approach… which imparts considerable warmth and emotion” Chris Parker, London jazz

“Like Adam Waldmann’s Kairos 4tet, John Martin’s band play with a great deal of melody in mind, and a narrative flow to their improvisations, as well as strong group cohesion.” Peter Bacon jazz Breakfast

Buy The Album

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The album costs £10.

Digital copy’s available on Amazon and iTunes


John Martin (Tenor and soprano sax) After studying composition with Nikki Iles and Eddie Parker at Middlesex University, John went on to play as a sideman in many bands on both the jazz and world music scenes. During this time john has regularly performed in top London venues such as the Jazz Café, Pizza Express (Dean St) and the Vortex, as well as at many festivals both here and abroad. He has played with the salsa king Roberto Pla, Fela Kuti’s keyboard player Dele Sosimi, Italian guitar maestro Georgio Serci and the award-winning singer Liane Carrol. John also played on Guillemots Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Through The Window Pane’, and has recently recorded three other albums – two as a sideman, with the Root Source and Metamorphic, and Dawning’, his first as a leader.

Andy Ball (Drums)

Born into a musical family, Andy began to play the drums at the age of six. He studied jazz at Leeds College of Music, followed by a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy. He has performed with many of Britain’s most prominent musicians including Gerard Presencer, Stan Sulzman, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Tim Garland, Alex Garnett, Brandon Allen, Neil Yates and Dennis Rollins.

Tim Fairhall (Double bass)

Having studied philosophy at Cambridge University, Tim went on to graduate with distinction from the Master’s course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has performed at many venues including the Royal Festival Hall, the Vortex, the Royal Albert Hall and the 606 Club, and with players including Martin Speake, Cleveland Watkiss, Nikki Iles and Stan Sulzmann. He has recently been touring worldwide with Yasmin Levy.

Jonjo Grisdale (Piano)

Jonjo started learning the piano at the age of 7. He also studied jazz at Middlesex University, graduating with a 1st class degree in 2007. Since leaving university Jonjo has become in demand as a session musician, playing and touring with the likes of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Lauren Pritchard, Tom Jones, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Nick Cave, Lily Allen, Shane McGowan, and Suggs. He has just finished co-writing his first pop album, working with producer Hugh Harris and singer Luke Allen; and writes and plays in the band Modern Breakfast with guitarist Chester Kamen.