Album Review: Folk Songs, Jazz Journeys from Alex Martin
Artist: Alex Martin
Label: Pajarito Verde Records
Guitarist-bandleader Alex Martin documents a personal journey through his music on his latest CD Folk Songs, Jazz Journeys. He toggles between the sounds of West Africa, America’s Appalachia region, Northeast Brazil, and Celtic Europe, making an amalgam that he dubs New World Jazz. The storytelling versing in his melodies is moving, impelling listeners to open their minds to the expressive lyricism in his harmonic models.
The pensive mood of “The Kudzu, the Dust, and You” spotlights the slow rocking motion of Martin’s guitar chords joined by Ethan Foote’s languid bass pulls and Keith Butler, Jr.’s sleek drum strikes. “Viceversa,” with music written by Alex Martin and words by Mario Benedetti, takes audiences to Brazil with the flamenco timbre of Martin’s guitar and the island sway of Tyler Sherman’s bass and Butler’s drums. The soft voicing in Maya Rogers’s register cloaks the listener in a pleasing breeze.
The candlelight ambience of “Le Temps des Cerises,” with words penned by Jean-Baptiste Clement and melody by Antoine Renard, features the meditative sway of vocalist Lynn Véronneau. Her gentle treatment of the phrasing wraps listeners in waves of warmth that soothes the soul as Martin’s guitar riffs reflect vignettes that portray the calming landscapes of Celtic Europe. The soft traipsing of Jodi Beder’s cello pattering across “I Once Loved a Lass” infuse a folksy, rustic texture emblematic of America’s Appalachian region, which travels into the Latin flavored “Laridé” with Gaby Kerdoncuff’s trumpet furls beautifully defined, brandishing attractive flutters.
Martin’s New World Jazz brings together music cultures from different corners of the globe. Connecting rustic folk with the suave versing of jazz, Alex Martin creates sonically sophisticated dishes for the world jazz connoisseur.
Alex Martin – guitar
Ethan Foote and Tyler Sherman – bass
Keith Butler Jr. – drums
Elin Melgarejo, Maya Rogers, and Lynn Véronneau – vocals
Uasuf Gueye – balafon
Jodi Beder – cello
Deepak Shenoy – tabla
Bruno Lucini – triangle
Gaby Kerdoncuff – trumpeter