Martin Speake

Martin cites Charlie Parker, Warne Mars, Bill Evans and Warne Marsh as major influences. He also cites Ornette Coleman and Steve Coleman as major influences. Martin is an improviser who is unique in his ability to express a deep understanding and appreciation of Jazz history. Martin was born in Barnet, North London, in 1958. He was inspired to learn the saxophone when he turned 16. He studied Classical Saxophone at Trinity College of Music from 1977 to 1981, and was awarded the Dame Ruth Railton woodwind playing prize. His first public appearance was as a founding member of the award-winning Saxophone Quartet Itchy Fingers’, during the heights of the UK’s so-called ’80’s Jazz Revival’. He toured the UK with Sam Rivers’ big band in autumn 2004 on a Contemporary Music Network tour. He promoted a CD release and celebrated Charlie Parker’s music with a new group. Martin, along with Itchy Fingers, toured Europe, South America and Africa and recorded two albums. He left the group in 1988 to pursue his own projects and become an improvisor and composer. Martin’s development as a musician and composer was influenced by his studies at Canada’s Banff Centre for the Arts, where he studied under the artistic guidance of Steve Coleman. He also worked alongside keyboard players Andy Milne, Ethan Iverson and Ralph Alessi. Martin can play Charlie Parker’s music fluently with his quartet or with Mark Sanders, a free improvising drummer, in a duet either with Ethan Iverson, Bad Plus, or Dharambir Sing and Sarvar Sabri. He was awarded the Peter Whittingham award in 1999 to fund a tour around the UK by The Martin Speake Group. He was asked to compose music in 2000 for an international project that featured American drummer Paul Motian and Bobo Stenson, a Swedish pianist, and Mick Hutton, an English bassist. The group toured the UK in May 2000 with funding from Arts Council of England. They toured again in autumn 2001. In April 2006, ECM released their first CD Change of Heart. In 2007, he started Pumpkin Records. His first album was a duo featuring Mark Sanders, a free-improvising drummer. In 2008 Generations, Barry Green, Jeff Williams, and Dave Green released the second release. Current projects include a saxophone quartet featuring Phil Bancroft and Martin Hathaway, and a trio featuring Canadian musicians Duncan Hopkins u0026 Anthony Michelli. Martin is an inspiring and committed jazz educator. He teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Royal Academy of Music, London, and also on many international Jazz summer courses. Visit

Leave a Comment