"Stephen Martin may be fond of a specific jazz segment from the past, but he knows how to frame it in the right way and immediately gives it a contemporary twist. He does that completely in the vein of Mark Turner and Chris Potter. A powerful and especially promising debut full of auditory fireworks." Georges Tonla Briquet, Jazz'halo, Belgium. Full of inspired, fiery conviction, saxophonist Stephen Martin channels the Kansas City jazz ecosystem that nurtured his professional and musical development on "High Plains," his second album as a leader.
Teaming with the virtuosic vibraphonist/pianist Peter Schlamb, bassist Ben Leifer and drummer David Hawkins, Martin tears through the Coltrane-inspired original, "The Void," and Frank Foster's "Simone," while Joe Henderson's "Punjab" lopes and swings conversationally. The classic "Easy Living" delivers a ballad's restraint while seeming ready to unfold and burst at any moment. With two of his mentors close at hand - saxophonists Bobby Watson & Matt Otto as a featured soloists, with Otto also producing the session - the atmosphere is loose, rollicking and familial, reflecting the shared sense of dialect, rhythm and purpose.