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Fri, 05 Jul


Music Room

Tendrils: Martin Speake and Alyson Cawley

Join Alyson Cawley, tenor saxophone, and Martin Speake, alto saxophone, for a brilliant performance blending sound and emotional intention.

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Tendrils: Martin Speake and Alyson Cawley
Tendrils: Martin Speake and Alyson Cawley

Time & Location

05 Jul 2024, 19:30 – 21:30

Music Room, 7-15 Fye Bridge St, Norwich NR3 1LJ, UK

About the event

Join Alyson Cawley, tenor saxophone, and Martin Speake, alto saxophone, for a brilliant performance blending sound and emotional intention.

Alyson and Martin met at the Glamorgan Summer School in 1996 where Martin was a tutor and Alyson a student tutor. It was apparent on that first meeting that they had a natural affinity and a leaning towards the same styles of music. It wasn’t until June 2nd 2017 that their paths crossed again and they started to play regularly together. Since then they have dived into various projects together including a quartet with Jeff Williams and Calum Gourlay called In All Languages playing the music of Ornette Coleman, a quintet playing the music of Charlie Parker, a Lennie Tristano project and Charukesi an Indian/Arabic inspired band playing Martin’s compositions. This intense period of collaboration has given Martin and Alyson an almost telepathic understanding of each other’s harmonic movements when playing freely and a seamless blending of sound and emotional intention. A duo album was a lovely way to document this.

The album begins with a rousing blues from the pen of Ornette Coleman, a great inspiration for both musicians. This moves into very different, other-worldly place with a tune by Alyson called Tendrils. Charukesi is the name of the Martin’s Indian ensemble, also involving Alyson, and is the name of a raga in Carnatic music on which the duo improvise freely. This moves into June 2nd, a tune written by Martin, commemorating the duo's first play together back in 2017. Squirrels is a free improvisation realised in the moment without any written content. The whole album weaves between free improvisation and written music. In contrast In Denial is a more conventional swing tune written by Alyson and inspired by Lennie Tristano. The chord sequence is on the standard Foolin’ Myself and phrasing of the melody is loosely based on a version by Billy Holiday. Their next piece is Martin’s dedication to Indian vocalist, improviser and composer Ramamani who has influenced Martin greatly in his years of writing Indian music. It is based on 5 notes and in the style of her compositions. Changing the mood again is a tune by Alyson, inspired by Keith Jarrett and it’s called Letting Go. Moonlight is a joint improvisation lovingly based on the standard Moonlight In Vermont, and this moves into Yagapriya, an improvisation on another Indian mode, inspired by Ramamani. The penultimate tune is written by Alyson and is called Guerneka which means we continuously germinate in the Basque language. Trees there are always renewed from their own acorns. The album concludes with a wistful and touching dedication to Martin’s daughter, Becky.

Truly magical.. Jazzwise on Alyson Cawley

“Change of Heart makes a compelling case that Martin Speake is one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent.” - Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times

Tendrils duo with Martin Speake

In All Languages




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