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High Plains

Stephen Martin

High Plains

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: OA2 Records
UPC: 0805552219722
Catnr: OA2 22197
Release date: 04 March 2022
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1 CD
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Label
OA2 Records
UPC
0805552219722
Catalogue number
OA2 22197
Release date
04 March 2022

"Another great talent that continues to make progress..."

Rootstime, 01-4-2022
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Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

Full of inspired, fiery conviction, saxophonist Stephen Martin channels the Kansas City jazz ecosystem that nurtured his professional and musical development on High Plains, his second album as a leader. Teaming with the virtuosic vibraphonist/pianist Peter Schlamb, bassist Ben Leifer and drummer David Hawkins, Martin tears through the Coltrane-inspired original, "The Void," and Frank Foster's "Simone," while Joe Henderson's "Punjab" lopes and swings conversationally. The classic "Easy Living" delivers a ballad’s restraint while seeming ready to unfold and burst at any moment. With two of his mentors close at hand - saxophonists Bobby Watson & Matt Otto as featured soloists, with Otto also producing the session - the atmosphere is loose, rollicking and familial, reflecting the shared sense of dialect, rhythm and purpose.
Voller inspiriertem, brennendem Enthusiasmus bringt der Saxophonist Stephen Martin auf High Plains, seinem zweiten Album als Leader, das Jazz-Ökosystem von Kansas City zum Klingen, das seine berufliche und musikalische Entwicklung gefördert hat. Zusammen mit dem virtuosen Vibraphonisten/Pianisten Peter Schlamb, dem Bassisten Ben Leifer und dem Schlagzeuger David Hawkins reißt Martin das von Coltrane inspirierte Original "The Void" und Frank Fosters "Simone" in die Höhe, während Joe Hendersons "Punjab" locker und unterhaltsam dahinplätschert. Der Klassiker "Easy Living" bietet die Zurückhaltung einer Ballade und scheint doch jeden Moment bereit zu sein, sich zu entfalten und zu explodieren. Mit zwei seiner Mentoren in der Nähe - dem Saxophonisten Bobby Watson und Matt Otto als Solisten und Otto als Produzenten - ist die Atmosphäre locker, ausgelassen und familiär und spiegelt den gemeinsamen Sinn für Dialekt, Rhythmus und Zielsetzung wider.

Artist(s)

Stephen Martin (saxophone)

Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his career for his excellence in music, receiving the 2nd place prize for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria, among many other acknowledgements.  ​Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites LA Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax great Dave Stone as having had substantial influences on his development.  Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized...
more
Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his career for his excellence in music, receiving the 2nd place prize for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria, among many other acknowledgements. ​Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites LA Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax great Dave Stone as having had substantial influences on his development. Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized by a relentless energy and adventurous ideas. The vibe of his music ranges widely from sensitive and inviting to thunderous and enraged - inspired by perhaps his deepest musical influence, John Coltrane. Martin's debut album, Vision, was released under the independent artist label SubtleStreet Records on July 27th, 2018. It debuted in the top 40 of the iTunes Jazz Charts, and as an Amazon best-seller in the first week of its release. ​​​ Currently based in Kansas City, Martin maintains a regular performance schedule and is on faculty at The Conservatory of Music & Dance at The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC).

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Bobby Watson (alto saxophone)

A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He trained formally at the University of Miami, a school with a distinguished and well-respected jazz program. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his 'doctorate' – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the 'University of Blakey' – served as the ultimate 'postgraduate school' for ambitious young players. After completing a four-year-plus Jazz Messengers tenure (1977-1981) that incorporated...
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A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He trained formally at the University of Miami, a school with a distinguished and well-respected jazz program. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his "doctorate" – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the "University of Blakey" – served as the ultimate "postgraduate school" for ambitious young players.

After completing a four-year-plus Jazz Messengers tenure (1977-1981) that incorporated more than a dozen recordings – the most of any of the great Jazz Messengers, the gifted Watson became a much-sought after musician, working along the way with a potpourri of notable artists – peers, elder statesmen and colleagues all -- including, but not limited to: drummers Max Roach and Louis Hayes, fellow saxophonists George Coleman and a younger Branford Marsalis, celebrated multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (who joined the Jazz Messengers at least in part at the suggestion of Watson). In addition to working with a variety of instrumentalists, Watson served in a supporting role for a number of distinguished and stylistically varied vocalists including: Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter and Carmen Lundy.

Later, in association with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis, Watson launched the first edition of Horizon, an acoustic quintet modeled in many ways after the Jazz Messengers but one with its own distinct slightly more modern twist. Among the groups' other talented members were pianist Ed Simon, trumpeter TereIl Stafford and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet. Clearly, by all critical accounts, Horizon, which still performs together on special occasions, is now considered as one of the preeminent small groups of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s and even into the 2000s. The group recorded several highly acclaimed titles for the Blue Note and Columbia record labels including Post-Motown Bop (Blue Note) and Midwest Shuffle, Live! (Columbia); the latter is a compendium that captured the group in concert at a number of locations in 1993.

In addition to his work with Horizon, Watson also led a nine-piece group known as the High court of Swing – a tribute to the music of Johnny Hodges – as well as the GRAMMY-nominated 16-piece, large ensemble Tailor Made Big Band. The lyrical stylist is also a founding member of the well-respected 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, an all-horn, four-piece ensemble.

Watson's classic 1986 release, Love Remains (Red) has long been recognized by the Penguin Guide to Jazz (Penguin). Having received the publication's highest rating it was then identified in the ready reference book's seventh edition as a part of its "core collection" [i.e. a "must-have"], joining other entries by a number of aforementioned jazz masters as a recording that any jazz aficionado should own.

More recently Watson issued a series of recordings on the Palmetto label. On the heels of his No. 1 releases, Live & Learn (2005) and Horizon Reassembled (2006), which brought him back together with Lewis, Stafford, Simon and Essiet, the saxophonist issued From the Heart (2008) which unveiled yet another project where he again shares the limelight with bassist Lundy. The release also went to No. 1 on the national jazz airplay chart and remained there for nine weeks.

For more than three decades now Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon. All told, Watson, the immensely talented and now-seasoned veteran, has issued some 30 recordings as a leader and appeared on 100-plus other recordings, performing as either co-leader or in support of other like-minded musicians. Not simply a performer, the saxophonist has recorded more than 100 original compositions including the music for the soundtrack of A Bronx Tale, which marked Robert DeNiro's 1993 directorial debut. Numerous Watson compositions have become classics such as his "Time Will Tell," "In Case You Missed It" and "Wheel within a Wheel," each now oft-recorded titles that are interpreted by his fellow musicians both on the bandstand and on other recordings.

Bobby Watson, Educator In addition to his compositional and performance prowess Watson is equally respected as an educator. More importantly, he now inspires those a generation or more younger than himself – passing on his great knowledge. His teaching within known jazz programs and institutions began in the mid-1980s when he served as a member of the adjunct faculty and taught private saxophone at William Paterson University (1985-1986) and Manhattan School of Music (1996-1999). As the millennium hit Watson hit his stride in the educational field. The recipient of the first endowed chair at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, the saxophonist, after using The Big Apple as his home base for 25 years, came full circle returning to his native locale in 2000. Appointed as the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies, he continues to serve as the Conservatory's Director of Jazz Studies. A decade into that position Watson now attracts the city's home-grown talent as well as the region's – and some of the nation's -- most gifted aspiring musicians to attend his program. He capped off his first 10 years in the position by first conceptualizing and then delivering one of his most ambitious projects to date – one where he combines all of his talents: composing, arranging, producing, teaching and performing.

In late fall 2010 Watson released his seven-part, all-originally composed The Gates BBQ Suite, which went to #4 on the National Jazz Airplay chart. The selfless Watson designed this complex work – which draws upon childhood remembrances and experiences centered on his family's involvement in the business and his home-town's semi-official food – to primarily showcase his students. Arranged as a big-band endeavor, with Watson only playing sporadically, The Gates BBQ Suite houses an abundance of ensemble playing and solos from those who study with Watson. Said Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal: "The Gates BBQ Suite, performed by Mr. Watson and the University of Missouri at Kansas City Concert Jazz Orchestra, is quite likely the most K.C.-specific work of his career thus far. It is, in every way, a worthy companion to the most famous long-form work celebrating jazz in that city, the 1960 ‘Kansas City Suite,' written by Benny Carter for Count Basie (neither of whom were K.C. natives, although Basie was easily the single greatest ambassador for K.C. jazz). In 1992, when Mr. Watson produced his first big band album, Tailor Made, Columbia Records trumpeted that the sessions were completely unrehearsed – as if that were somehow a positive thing; here it's abundantly clear that Mr. Watson and his students have ample rehearsal time to get everything right..." All this said, just releasing the recording was not enough for the energetic Watson. Using guile and his boundless creative energy Watson was able to create an opportunity for him and his students to travel to Japan for a 10-day tour that showcased Gates and other compositions. To say they were well-received would be a drastic understatement. Now, as 2011 hits, Watson has prepared each of Gates' seven charts to stand either together as a suite or individually and has made them available to band directors around the world so that he can serve as an artist-in-residence and/or special guest and have the work performed in whole or in part anywhere.

As in-demand as ever, the lyrical saxophonist balances his teaching responsibilities with engagements at major venues throughout the world including appearances at clubs, festivals, on campuses and at Performing Arts Centers.


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Matt Otto (tenor saxophone)

Matt Otto is currently the Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Kansas University (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers New Brunswick teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance. Matt Otto pursued his education in music performance and composition at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, New School Jazz (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA) during which time he studied under Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Charlie Haden, Don Hawkins and many others. Having lived in Japan for six years, New York City for seven years and Los Angeles for six years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony...
more
Matt Otto is currently the Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Kansas University (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers New Brunswick teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance.
Matt Otto pursued his education in music performance and composition at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, New School Jazz (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA) during which time he studied under Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Charlie Haden, Don Hawkins and many others. Having lived in Japan for six years, New York City for seven years and Los Angeles for six years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony Wilson, Larry Koonse, Rashid Bakr, Ben Monder, Willie Jones III, Alan Ferber, Mark Ferber, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Gregory Hutchinson, Jonathan Kreisberg, Joe La Barbera, Leroy Vinegar, Bob Bowman, Jimmy Smith (drums), Paul Jackson, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street, Mike Moreno, Sara Gazarek, Josh Nelson, Peter Schlamb, Danny Weiss, Roger Wilder, William Parker, Matt Wilson, Steve Cardenas, Bobby Watson, Bob Weir, Deborah Brown, Larry Goldings, Eric Harland, Sheryl Bailey, Darek Oles, Erik McPherson, John Stowell, Danny Embrey, Alan Pasqua, and many others.
While in Los Angeles, Matt co-founded of the Los Angeles Jazz Collective (lajazzcollective.org). The mission of the collective (LAJC) is to help create opportunities for creative jazz composers and performers to showcase original artistic work and to set up an ongoing Jazz outreach program for young jazz musicians in and around Los Angeles.
Matt currently performs his original compositions and jazz standards with his Kansas City based quartet as well as traveling several times per year to NYC and LA for performances and recordings.
Matt has recorded and performed with the Grammy nominated Anthony Wilson Nonet (The Power of Nine, Groove Note 1035, 2006), The Rashid Bakr Quintet, has performed in Los Angeles with the Grammy Nominated Alan Ferber Big Band as well as having recorded on over 50 CDs as both a leader and a side man.

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Composer(s)

Benny Golson

Benny Golson (b. 1929, Philadelphia) has been a major tenor-saxophonist and composer for over a half-century. He began his career playing with the r&b band of Bull Moose Jackson in 1951 and with other local groups in Philadelphia. Golson worked with Tadd Dameron in 1953, the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Johnny Hodges and Earl Bostic. His Stablemates was recorded by Miles Davis in 1955. Golson, whose tenor playing during the era was influenced by Don Byas and Lucky Thompson, gained his first fame as a member of the Dizzy Gillespie big band of 1956-58. He helped to make Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers into an important jazz institution through his professionalism and compositions during 1958-59, and during 1960-62 he co-led the Jazztet...
more
Benny Golson (b. 1929, Philadelphia) has been a major tenor-saxophonist and composer for over a half-century. He began his career playing with the r&b band of Bull Moose Jackson in 1951 and with other local groups in Philadelphia. Golson worked with Tadd Dameron in 1953, the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Johnny Hodges and Earl Bostic. His Stablemates was recorded by Miles Davis in 1955.
Golson, whose tenor playing during the era was influenced by Don Byas and Lucky Thompson, gained his first fame as a member of the Dizzy Gillespie big band of 1956-58. He helped to make Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers into an important jazz institution through his professionalism and compositions during 1958-59, and during 1960-62 he co-led the Jazztet with Art Farmer. During that era he wrote such standards as Killer Joe, I Remember Clifford, Whisper Not, Blues March and Along Came Betty.
After his long period in the studios, Golson emerged in 1977 with a freer style and a different tone, resuming his role as a prolific musician. He has led his own quartet ever since and is still active today at 81.

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Matt Otto (tenor saxophone)

Matt Otto is currently the Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Kansas University (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers New Brunswick teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance. Matt Otto pursued his education in music performance and composition at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, New School Jazz (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA) during which time he studied under Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Charlie Haden, Don Hawkins and many others. Having lived in Japan for six years, New York City for seven years and Los Angeles for six years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony...
more
Matt Otto is currently the Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Kansas University (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers New Brunswick teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance.
Matt Otto pursued his education in music performance and composition at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, New School Jazz (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA) during which time he studied under Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Charlie Haden, Don Hawkins and many others. Having lived in Japan for six years, New York City for seven years and Los Angeles for six years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony Wilson, Larry Koonse, Rashid Bakr, Ben Monder, Willie Jones III, Alan Ferber, Mark Ferber, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Gregory Hutchinson, Jonathan Kreisberg, Joe La Barbera, Leroy Vinegar, Bob Bowman, Jimmy Smith (drums), Paul Jackson, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street, Mike Moreno, Sara Gazarek, Josh Nelson, Peter Schlamb, Danny Weiss, Roger Wilder, William Parker, Matt Wilson, Steve Cardenas, Bobby Watson, Bob Weir, Deborah Brown, Larry Goldings, Eric Harland, Sheryl Bailey, Darek Oles, Erik McPherson, John Stowell, Danny Embrey, Alan Pasqua, and many others.
While in Los Angeles, Matt co-founded of the Los Angeles Jazz Collective (lajazzcollective.org). The mission of the collective (LAJC) is to help create opportunities for creative jazz composers and performers to showcase original artistic work and to set up an ongoing Jazz outreach program for young jazz musicians in and around Los Angeles.
Matt currently performs his original compositions and jazz standards with his Kansas City based quartet as well as traveling several times per year to NYC and LA for performances and recordings.
Matt has recorded and performed with the Grammy nominated Anthony Wilson Nonet (The Power of Nine, Groove Note 1035, 2006), The Rashid Bakr Quintet, has performed in Los Angeles with the Grammy Nominated Alan Ferber Big Band as well as having recorded on over 50 CDs as both a leader and a side man.

less

Stephen Martin (saxophone)

Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his career for his excellence in music, receiving the 2nd place prize for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria, among many other acknowledgements.  ​Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites LA Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax great Dave Stone as having had substantial influences on his development.  Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized...
more
Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a rich tradition in jazz. He has been recognized often in his career for his excellence in music, receiving the 2nd place prize for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award in Austria, among many other acknowledgements. ​Martin studied under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. He also often cites LA Jazz Collective founder/saxophonist Matt Otto, and St. Louis underground sax great Dave Stone as having had substantial influences on his development. Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized by a relentless energy and adventurous ideas. The vibe of his music ranges widely from sensitive and inviting to thunderous and enraged - inspired by perhaps his deepest musical influence, John Coltrane. Martin's debut album, Vision, was released under the independent artist label SubtleStreet Records on July 27th, 2018. It debuted in the top 40 of the iTunes Jazz Charts, and as an Amazon best-seller in the first week of its release. ​​​ Currently based in Kansas City, Martin maintains a regular performance schedule and is on faculty at The Conservatory of Music & Dance at The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC).

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Press

Another great talent that continues to make progress...
Rootstime, 01-4-2022

Play album Play album

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