Alistair Martin – Oblivion

24-year-old, Alistair Martin is a trumpet player and composer from London.  After attending The BRIT School, he studied Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music. Alistair cites Miles Davis, David Bowie and Kanye West as influences, in the way that they cross genres, take risks and have evolved as artists.

Art work by A T Wilkinson

Alistair’s ambitious debut album Oblivion features some of London’s most exciting young jazz musicians; Quinn Oulton, Will Barry, Dave Storey and Daisy George. The concept album has been hugely influenced by current social and political issues, such as climate change and conflict, as well as many others.

There are twenty-two tracks on this debut album so this review will give overview of the album instead of commenting on each track, which is my usual style. The album opens with ‘Regression’, which I found to an enjoyable introduction to the Alistair’s compositional style and the band’s playing. Considering the influence on the concept of this album it should come as no surprise that much of the music has a contemplative feel about it which is then blown apart by bursts of energy that pull the listener up sharp.

The album is peppered with ‘Interludes’ that elsewhere have been described as “pallet cleansers”, improvised pieces that contrast with the tracks that surround them. These ‘Interludes’ are soundscapes that for me are a distraction from the main thrust of the album, however well played they are.

‘Twisted Fiction’ is a standout track for me and has pianist Will Barry taking the lead on the melody. The playing on this track is superb and the composition stylistically strong. I applaud the fact that Alistair does not feature on the number but has absolute faith in the players around him to put across his tune with such aplomb.

Oblivion is an interesting, intriguing album that has a great deal to commend it. The concept that drives it is an admirable one but perhaps also the album’s weakness: the subject matter is too vast and complex to condense into one seventy-seven-minute album. I have no doubt that Alistair Martin has a bright future ahead of him. His compositions are strong and full of great ideas. The musicians he has around him work well together and bring out the best of the music that Alistair has put before them. There is much to enjoy from this album, but I feel that overall, it may have benefited from judicious editing in order to focus the mind of the listener on the importance of the subject matter.

Musicians:

Alistair Martin – trumpet; Quinn Oulton – saxophone; Will Barry – piano; Daisy George – bass; Dave Story – Drums.

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