Barrett Martin: Shapeshifter




Barrett Martin (drums, percussion)


Zenga (Fast Horse Recordings - FH021)

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Barrett Martin (drums, percussion), Dave Carter (trumpet), John Rangel (piano), Chris Golden (upright bass).

Composed by Barrett Martin


Recorded: Seattle, Washington, Taos & Santa Fe, New Mexico, between winter 2008 and winter 2009


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

The music of Barrett Martin can be tough to pin down. Go ahead and listen to his work with the rock band Screaming Trees. Then check out Tuatara. Sure, it's something of a stylistic leap from the former to the latter, but if viewed as a transition, it illustrates the wide-ranging extent of Martin's interests and hearing: his “big ears.”

Martin's solo recordings have leaned more toward the multi-faceted pallet of Tuatara — music that's cinematic and draws from many sources, often within the confines of a single composition.

“Shapeshifter” indeed proves my point, starting out with a pensive segment lead by two melodic instruments (piano, vibes) telling a reserved story in waltz time. But then the band launches into high energy Latin jazz mode and we're treated to fabulous solos by Dave Carter on trumpet and John Rangel on piano. Martin and bassist Chris Golden really dig in to the groove here. By the tune's end, the mood has gone back to the more reserved and searching, this transition seeming less abrupt and perhaps even more appropriate now that the whole story has been revealed.

Reviewer: Mark Saleski

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