22nd April 2018

British alto saxophonist Martin Speake has recently rekindled a musical alliance with one of the most high-profile of the new breed of exciting and innovative American jazz pianists, The Bad Plus's Ethan Iverson.

It was in 2002 Martin and Ethan last performed together - as a duo touring the UK and Scotland, following the release of ‘My Ideal’, a ballad album of standards. Now, 15 years on, they're back together to record an album of Martin’s compositions due for release in 2018.

A musician whose classically informed writing and playing has been likened to that of Brad Mehldau, Ethan cites among his many diverse influences Stravinsky and Ornette Coleman. He's also worked with musicians such as Billy Hart, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lee Konitz, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Ron Carter, Paul Motian and Charlie Haden.

In the late 90s Ethan released ‘Construction Zone (Originals)’ and ‘Deconstruction Zone (Standards)’ in tandem, with the latter being hailed by the New York Times as a Top Ten pick for that year. His follow-up, ‘The Minor Passions’, was similarly hailed by the paper.

After the turn of the millennium, however, Ethan achieved perhaps his greatest visibility as a member of The Bad Plus, with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King, the New York Times commenting that the trio was ". . . better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60s jazz and indie rock.”

Citing Lee Konitz, Charlie Parker, Warne Marsh, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Ornette Coleman as major influences, Martin has developed a personal musical voice that expresses a deep understanding of the history and language of jazz, with an individuality as an improviser that is intelligent, melodic, cool, complex, direct, beautiful and profound. A strikingly talented musician with a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration.

This is a rare opportunity to hear Ethan in concert outside of London - and with arguably the UK's finest altoist, backed by two top-notch musicians in Fred Thomas (Double Bass) and James Maddren (Drums).

“An alto saxophonist who sounds only like himself.” - The Observer

". . . he played the daylights out of a programme of jazz standards – exhibiting a hard-driving resourcefulness over long solos to rival some of the world's best-known post-bop practitioners." - The Guardian on Ethan Iverson

"Martin Speake is one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent." - Jazz Times

" . . . a dazzling exposition by a uniquely idiosyncratic virtuoso-scholar of jazz.” - The Guardian on Ethan Iverson

Tickets £15 / £13 Concessions
Jazz Express Offer: Book for any three gigs and get tickets for just £10 each!
Doors open 7pm, starts 7.30pm

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