Mel Martin: Rhythm Man (Do Not Disturb)
Rhythm Man (Do Not Disturb)
Mel Martin (tenor sax)
Where the Warm Winds Blow (Jazzed Media 1043)
Brad Buethe (guitar), Robb Fisher (bass), Jeff Mars (drums), John Santos (percussion).
Composed by Mel Martin.
Recorded: Berkeley, July 14-15, 2008
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
While it's true you can make great jazz anywhere, great jazz reputations are still made in New York. So how does the critic deal with local heroes such as Mel Martin, who has done just about as much as anyone could possibly do on various reed instruments, yet has decided to live his life (as the name of his new CD indicates) Where the Warm Winds Blow?
Martin has made his mark in bands such as Listen and Bebop and Beyond and collaborated with everyone from Benny Carter to Boz Scaggs. Even so, he may still be an unknown name to many jazz fans outside of the West Coast. If you count yourself among the uninitiated, check out this new release to get a taste of one of the finest saxophonists West of the Rockies. He is joined by some other local heroes, notably John Santos who keeps the fire burning while Martin flies over an insistent groove, navigating through a form that is half modal vamp and half chord-based. Don't be fooled by a CD cover that shows Martin ready for a beach vacation. This is gritty, driving music from a high-octane performer who has been delivering the goods for many years.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia