Mel Martin- Listen

Long a major saxophonist based in the San Francisco Bay area who is equally skilled on tenor, alto and soprano, Mel Martin is best known for leading his group Bebop and Beyond. He started playing professionally while a teenager in the late 1950s. Martin worked early in his career with such notables as Santana, Azteca, Cold Blood, Boz Scaggs and Dr. John in addition to being a studio musician. In the 1980s he formed Bebop and Beyond and has since recorded full sets of tributes to Dizzy Gillespie (who appeared on that album), Charles Mingus and Benny Carter.

During 1977-78, Mel Martin led Listen, a fusion band that played music that was both adventurous and accessible. On their earliest of two Inner City albums, the group introduced Andy Narell, the first jazz steel drum soloist. Martin is featured on tenor, soprano, flute and piccolo, Narell doubles on piano, and the quartet also includes bassist Dave Dunaway and drummer George Marsh with a few guest musicians. Mixing together jazz, rock, World Music and light funk, the music is spirited and often witty, as is suggested by such song titles as “Aural Hallucination,” “A Tribute To Clark Kent” and “At The Mountains Of Madness.” This lively music deserves to be enjoyed.


SKU: IC1025

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A Tribute To Clark Kent - Krypton A Tribute To Clark Kent - Egroeg Gezpacho Sabroso Dance for Denica At the Mountains of Madness Jesse's Theme The Mosquito Steps Out Aural Hallucination

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Mel Martin
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Andy Narell, David Dunaway, George Marsh, Dave Creamer, Glen Cronkhite, Larry Dunlap, Fender Rhodes, Jeff Narell, Kenneth Nash, Richard Waters
SKU IC1025


Customer Reviews (2)

"Take Its Advice!"Review by Big Toots
IC 1025 Listen Mel Martin

Mel Martin is no time-waster. Not only does he provide an immediate directive by way of this recording’s title, “Listen,” but as needle hits wax (“as laser scans data” just doesn’t have the same effect now, does it?), we’re off and running wildly, grabbed by a Corea-festive by way of “Cape Verdean” speedball groove. And, Martin doesn’t let our ears off the hook until a near 45 minutes later. The album is simply addictive.

Recorded in 1977, “Listen” sounds as if it was canned yesterday. It’s a unique blending of straight-ahead jazz and energized funk-jazz-rock with generous dollops of Latin sauce. In addition to Martin’s supreme soprano, flute and tenor saxes, the marvelous steel pan and piano work of Andy Narrell adds exotic aural attraction to the activities (“Aural Hallucination”).

Martin is a master jazz improviser who seems to lavish in and also slay the faster tempos (“Egroeg,” an obvious tribute to Mr. Reeves, given the “Clark Kent” title tribute, “At the Mountains of Madness”). His tenor sound is canyon-deep and yet it dove-tails sweetly with Narrell’s pan and piano (”Krypton,” a hauntingly beautiful dreamscape). “Gezpacho Sabroso” is a dawning in a jazz jungle that’s coming to life with Martin’s Gato-like chanting over Dave Dunaway’s boiling bass and George Marsh’s percussive textures. On the catchy and lightly textural “Dance for Denica,” Martin shades Herbie Mann over Dunaway’s bass riffing and Narrell’s solo piano is a multi-hued flittering butterfly. Dave Creamer’s guitar guesting on the oddly-metered “At the Mountains of Madness” is another highlight. “Jesse’s Theme,” a gorgeous impressionistic chant, seals the deal and renders “Listen” worthy of endless repeats.

One might guess why the graphic cover image here depicts the infinitely mysterious and motionless Easter Island monolithic statues. Perhaps they’re enthralled and completely immersed in this terrific recording. I was and am definitely not going to remain silent about it.

(Posted on 6/21/2015)
ListenReview by Simon Sez
When I think of Mel Martin, it is of the leader of Bebop And Beyond, playing tribute albums with Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Carter. But earlier in his career he led a fusion band, Listen, that was popular in the San Francisco Bay area for a time in the 1970s.

Listen recorded two albums for Inner City, doing a fine job of mixing together jazz, rock and World Music. In addition to Martin, who plays tenor, flute, piccolo and soprano, the quartet features the pioneering jazz steel drum player Andy Narell. This is fun and colorful music.

Simon Sez: Listen Featuring Mel Martin (IC 1025) has the early fusion band not only featuring saxophonist Martin but Andy Narell on steel drums. (Posted on 5/6/2014)

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