beautiful recording...we really must believe in Martin Speake".
Cheetham, Jazz Views
listen again and it soon begins to stand comparison with anyone, anywhere".
Phil Johnson, The Independent
very enjoyable album".
Lara Bellini, Jazz Review.com
powers are probably better revealed in these bare surroundings than
they are in the Bad Plus".
John Fordham, The Guardian
Speake, the British
alto saxophonist, is often compared to Lee Konitz. Speake has his
own distinctive sound but like Konitz he has an enthusiasm for putting
himself in new contexts, exploring new ideas and working across musical
styles. He has become a significant jazz presence.
Speake toured the UK with Ethan Iverson in 2002 when Ethan was musical
director of the Mark Morris dance company in New York. As partners
they are very well suited. He and Iverson share many qualities apart
from their identical bald heads!
Both musicians have the ability to turn a tune in an unexpected direction
and to startle the audience with surprising twists and turns which
reveal a true eclectism of taste and ability. Ethan Iverson’s
classical phrasing combined with virtuoso and often extremely powerful
jazz technique mark him out as an unmistakeable presence. Combined
with Martin Speake’s quirky and often understated interpretations
of melody lines the duo create an interesting balance of styles which
Martin Speake and Ethan Iverson finished off their 2002 UK tour with
the recording of a new duo album MY IDEAL (SRCD 7-2).
Everything Happens to Me (Dennis/Adair) 5:57
02 My Ideal (Whiting/Chase/Robin) 4:14
03 What is Thing Called Love? (Porter) 4:06
04 So In Love (Porter) 4:39
05 Loverman (Davis/Ramirez/Sherman) 5:40
06 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Kern/Harbach) 3:05
07 Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 3:35
08 How Insensitive (Jobim/Demoraes) 5:37
09 You Must Believe in Spring (Legrand/Demy/Bergman Bergman) 3:24
Total Time 40:40
THIS ALBUM FOR JUST £12.99 ONLINE NOW
album was recorded at The Warehouse, in December 2002. Mastered by
Ray Staff at Sony Music. Produced by Iain Ballamy. Executive Producer
Martin Speake met pianist Ethan Iverson at Banff
Centre for the Arts in 1990 where they both studied for a month with
Steve Coleman, Kenny Wheeler, Rufus Reid, Kevin Eubanks, Stanley Cowell
and others. They did not see each other again for more than ten years.
Martin wondered what had happened to Ethan and found he had become
the musical director of the Mark Morris Dance Company. This company
visited England in 2001 and they got a chance to renew their musical
friendship by playing through a few interesting standards and originals.
They hit it off musically despite being very different in their approach
and decided to tour together in December 2002. Martin is known for
the diversity of his projects and his interests in many areas of jazz
music. This is reflected in his quartet with guitarist Mike Outram,
bass Tom Herbert and Drummer Tom Skinner, Exploring Standards with
Tom Skinner and Mick Hutton, free improvisation duo with drummer Mark
Sanders, a duo with guitarist Colin Oxley, The Unison Quartet and
a trio with sitarist Dharambir Singh and Sarvar Sabri, both of which
perform Indian and Arabic influenced music, and The International
Quartet with drummer Paul Motian, pianist Bobo Stenson and bassist
Mick Hutton. This latter project has recently recorded for the prestigious
"Speake's saxophone sound is a haunting mixture of fragile, silvery
high-register playing and a plush, flugelhorn-like mid-range, and
his momentum has an unswerving resolution of tempo. In these respects
he resembles a Fifties Cool School improviser, but his phrasing represents
a far more contemporary chemistry of long zigzagging lines and unexpected
John Fordham - The Guardian
Ethan Iverson is now fast becoming the piano player
to watch in jazz. He has collaborated with Dewey Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel,
Dave Douglas and Mark Turner and Billy Hart. He is now more well known
for his role as pianist and composer with highly acclaimed and innovative
trio The Bad Plus with David King and Reid Anderson who are signed
to Columbia Records.
"Iverson is an original thinker and likely to be a very major
force... implacably opposed to anything predictable, conventional
or otherwise previously-done". Penguin Guide To Jazz
you are after some good, solid, straight-ahead jazz, then don’t
look any further than Basho Music. Their latest release, 'My Ideal',
is founded on a ground of softly rearranged standards, and brings
together alto saxophonist Martin Speake with pianist Ethan Iverson.
An elegant and intense approach to expression enhances the already
stellar magnitude of these classics.
colour is a tale of delicacy that can suddenly unravel into solidly
built passages, without losing its pensive touch. On the other hand,
Iverson’s nervously cerebral signature is an unrestrained ride
on tempestuous waves. Even when confined to accompaniment Iverson
is charged with insatiable electricity, his fingers sparkle. Scales
and chords multiply like curls of baroque buildings.
enjoyable album". Lara Bellini, Jazz Review.com
alto saxophonist Speake duets with a regular Transatlantic associate,
the composer and pianist Ethan Iverson - better known as one-third
of the lively and now fashionable genre-breakout band the Bad Plus.
Although that full-on trio's robust irony, percussion-driven ferocity
and raucous reworking of old pop hits is on another, noisier planet
to these stripped-down duets exploring standards and ballads, including
Michel Legrand's You Must Believe in Spring and a variety of Cole
Porters, Jerome Kerns and a Jobim.
Speake's soft tone and undemonstrative audacity found an excellent
counterpoise in Iverson, who is as likely to veer off into streams
of classical arpeggios as he is to play swing or stride, though he
does plenty of those too.
music was recorded in December 2002 (and produced by Iain Ballamy,
no stranger to saxophone understatement) when the pair were touring
the UK, and their absorbing live show is recalled by Iverson's technically-sweeping
free-classical upsurge after Speake's smoke-rings on Everything Happens
to Me, the duo's limping, Monkish arrangement of Smoke Gets in Your
Eyes, and the almost sinister idling saunter of Jobim's How Insensitive.
Iverson's powers are probably better revealed in these bare surroundings
than they are in the Bad Plus". John Fordham,
My Ideal (Basho) by the alto saxophonist Martin Speake, 46, who as
part of the sax quartet Itchy Fingers, won the 1986 Jazz Services/Schlitz
competition that helped to kick-start the Eighties jazz revival. On
the face of it, My Ideal is nothing special: duets of standards with
the pianist Ethan Iverson from the American trio The Bad Plus. But
listen again and it soon begins to stand comparison with anyone, anywhere.
Speake's creamy, almost ingratiatingly melodic flights of fancy are
continually brought crashing to the ground by the mad chromaticism
of Iverson's piano vamps. It's ancient and modern at the same time;
Beauty meets the Beast as written by Cole Porter, and then spoiled
by Ornette Coleman". Phil Johnson, The
Speake has a reputation for the variety of his interests in different
areas of music and for the multiplicity of his ventures in developing
his range in jazz. Given that, this album - a duet with piano - comes
as no surprise, but one is immediately impressed by the opening bars
of ‘Everything Happens to Me’, and subsequently by every
arrangement, every note that follows. Martin’s phrasing is always
out of the ordinary and in this selection his exceptional precision
and control of that phrasing ride on the perfect foil of Ethan Iverson’s
very personal piano language.
Martin first met
Ethan in 1990 studying with Steve Coleman, Kenny Wheeler and others.
Meeting again some 10 years later, they renewed their acquaintance
by playing through a few numbers and hit it off musically, in spite
of their very different approaches. They toured together then produced
this very beautiful recording.
The CD offers
just under 41 minutes of standard love songs and they are rendered
in a compellingly plaintive mood. Only ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’
is given any pace, another example of Martin’s atypical approach.
The final track, ‘You Must Believe in Spring’ develops
a certain power in both saxophone and piano parts in its final third,
as though to emphasise the ‘must believe’ before returning
to the general quietude in the coda.
very pleased to have the opportunity to review this album and feel
that I should say that we really must believe in Martin Speake".
Ken Cheetham, Jazz Views