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John Martin Hidden Notes

Launching their new album. ‘The Hidden Notes’ offers a window into a new and unique sound world. It is a celebration of the saxophone and all the beautiful colours that are hidden just beneath the surface.

The project has grown out of an in-depth study of advanced saxophone techniques, and is the culmination of several years’ work spent developing a tonal approach to multiphonics and overtone patterns. Through this process Martin has discovered many beautiful and affecting sounds, which he has used as a starting point for a new body of compositions. These sounds range from ethereal, delicate two-note whispers to rich full chords, earthy split-notes and powerful metallic dissonance.
Circular breathing then allows for the development of complex continuous rhythmic patterns. All of this combined with the natural sound of the saxophone creates a rich and varied soundscape, opening up many new exciting rhythmic and textural possibilities.

John Martin Tenor Saxophone, Tim Fairhall double bass, Rob Updegraff Guitar, Tim Giles drums & Ralph Wyld vibes.

“You could be forgiven for thinking on occasions while listening to this band of vibraphone (Ralph Wyld), guitar (Rob Updegraff), double bass (Tim Fairhall) and drums (Tim Giles) that it was fronted by multiple saxophones. That is because John Martin, who plays tenor throughout, is a master of multiphonics. As a cover note to this double CD explains: “It is a celebration of the saxophone and all the beautiful colours that are hidden just beneath the surface. When a musician plays a note of a certain pitch the instrument resonates, producing a complex pattern of sound waves. The most noticeable soundwave is called the fundamental, but there are other waves with higher frequencies called harmonics. These are the hidden notes.”It’s an often quite spooky sound, the ear leaning towards a high singing harmonic while a low fundamental grumbles beneath. And not always absolutely comfortable in the ear; I can imagine an uninitiated listener thinking: can this guy play properly? But hey, that’s what is so great about jazz – it upsets the preconceptions. And Martin doesn’t do the multiphonic thing all the time. When he is concentrating on producing one main note rather than three he has a muscular tone and a melodic bent when improvising. The opener on CD2 is a fine place to leap in – it’s attractively titled The Optimistic Pessimist.The sometimes less clear focus of the saxophone timbre is also nicely contrasted against the clear-as-a-bell vibraphone and clean electric guitar sound, the whole band working assuredly on these rounded compositions.” Peter Bacon – Thejazzbreakfast 

“The Martin quintet is  touring this material….. I suspect that seeing this music performed live will be an absorbing and rewarding experience.” Ian Mann, thejazzmann

“The lyrical sway of Andy Sheppard, the atmospherics of Jan Garbarek, the pensiveness of Kenny Wheeler and the country-chime of early Keith Jarrett” John Fordham, The Guardian


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

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