Martin Speake Quartet
The Verdict, Brighton
Saturday 21st April, 2018
Alto saxophonist Martin Speake celebrated his 60th birthday this year by recording a new album with his long-time friend and musical associate, US pianist Ethan Iverson.
Performing mostly tunes from the new album, they mixed originals with the odd bebop classic, such as Parker’s tune Charlie’s Wig.
Speake is a player who has absorbed a number of influences from the history of jazz and from the opening number one could hear Coltrane, Konitz and Parker in his playing. It is this combination of different influences that helps give him a unique sound, along with a fluency and depth of musicianship that is rarely heard these days.
Pianist Ethan Iverson, a quiet and studious personality, played at times with sheer velocity and fluidity before relaxing into a gentler and warmer style. For some of the straight-ahead jazz numbers he looked as if the material was too easy and he could play them with his eyes closed.
With the ever-reliable and solid drumming of James Maddren, the surprise of the evening was the highly creative playing of classically-trained bassist Fred Thomas.
Martin Speake, saxophone; Ethan Iverson, piano; Fred Thomas, bass; James Maddren, drums.
The Martin Speake Quartet featuring Ethan Iverson appear at JazzHastings on Tuesday 1st May, 2018.
The album Intention is out now on the Ubuntu label.
[Photo by David Forman.]