Bar code: 8427328421393
Joe Martin has established himself as a highly sought-after bassist. Living in New York City since 1994, he has performed and toured with a variety of musicians including Andy Bey, Vinicius Cantuaria, Bill Charlap, Art Farmer, Joel Frahm, Jon Gordon, Brad Mehldau, Jane Monheit, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Mark Turner. Passage is Martin's debut recording as a leader for Fresh Sound New Talent.
The album features seven original compositions as well as one standard arranged by pianist Kevin Hays. Martin is joined by Mark Turner on saxophone, Jorge Rossy on drums, and Kevin Hays on piano.
Four unique voices led by Martin take the listener through a musical Passage. Haunting melodies and rhythmic dances culminate in pure beauty. These compositions are destined to become standards in the new jazz repertoire.
"Young bassist Joe Martin doesn't just make his instrument walk or run, he makes it dance and leap. Couple his agile lines with a huge, singing tone, his intriguing compositions, and first-rate sidemen, and you've got the ingredients for Passage.
Mark Turner is one of the best of today's younger saxophonists. He's got a personal sound and conception, with influences as diverse as John Coltrane and Warne Marsh. Over the past decade, Kevin Hays has quietly become a top-shelf pianist, and drummer Jorge Rossy has made a name for himself as he powers the Brad Mehldau Trio with strength and subtlety.
Above all, however, Passage is an ensemble album. The interplay here is as deep as that in many working bands. Martin and Rossy are particularly communicative, sometimes implying the time, sometimes obtaining a kind of floating momentum, sometimes flat-out cooking. They seem to complete each other's thoughts.
Martin's compositions exhibit quite a variety in moods and settings. "Manhattanville" has a boppish head, followed by entwining, contrapuntal improvising by Turner and Hays. "Overwhelmed" is a dry, sensitive ballad, and "Closure" is an up-tempo swinger. Even when swinging, this group demonstrates a thoughtfulness and restraint that seems to indicate a sort of 21st Century cool style. The cool feel resonates all the more in Turner's long melodic lines and grave, slightly cloudy tone.
Where are all these terrific young musicians coming from? I don't know the answer, but Fresh Sound New Talent certainly does an admirable job of locating and recording them. With Joe Martin and Passage, the label has come up with another winner."
—All About Jazz (February 20, 2004)