Grammy-winning producer, drummer and composer Barrett Martin recently released his 6th album with The Barrett Martin Group, called Transcendence. The band blends jazz, blues, African, Brazilian, and Cuban rhythms, ambient and classical music, as well as a mixture of exotic percussion that includes Indonesian gamelans, marimbas, kalimbas, and several handmade instruments. Transcendence features Martin (drums/vibes/marimbas/percussion), Evan Flory-Barnes (upright bass), Andy Coe (guitar), Ryan Burns (piano/keyboards), Hans Teuber (saxophones), Dave Carter (trumpet) Thione Diop (African drums) and Lisette Garcia (Latin percussion). The album also includes some phenomenal guest performers such as keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist David Catching.
“The Barrett Martin Group is a band I started in 2004,” Martin tells AXS. “It consists of the most innovative and talented musicians that I have worked with over the course of my career. They tend to be mostly jazz musicians from Seattle, but we also have a Senegalese Wolof drum master and a Latina percussionist, and every album features special guest artists.”
Martin composes all the music and produces the albums, and says he tries to write for the individual talents within the group. He even considers his shows to be more of a dance party. “We’re doing our best to bring dance back into the jazz form, which is how it originated, so that our audience can participate in our performances,” Martin explained.
The band is now currently recording their 7th album entitled, The Quality Of Fire. “We’re taking a month off while I travel in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest to record the sacred healing songs of the Shipibo Shamans for an album I am producing for them,” the artist tells AXS while in Peru. Upon his return to Seattle, he plans to continue his work on his upcoming album. This one features the same musicians along with the additional talents of Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and will again include Peter Buck of R.E.M. as well as jazz legend Wayne Horvitz. They plan on releasing the album in early 2019 with a tour to follow.
On top of that, the renowned drummer and percussionist whose work can be heard on albums by R.E.M., Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season, Luna, Screaming Trees, Walking Papers and more, has also put out his first book entitled, The Singing Earth.
"The Singing Earth is a collection of my musical adventure stories,” Martin shared with AXS. “It chronicles my musical work in 14 musical regions, across six continents, over the course of 30 years. It begins with my involvement in the 1990s Seattle music scene, and then exploring song lines and sea trails in Australia and New Zealand, trance drumming in Central America, Griot music in West Africa, musical diplomacy in Cuba, touring with a Brazilian rock band, recording shamanic music in the Peruvian Amazon, playing the blues in the Mississippi Delta, recording in the Palestinian West Band, the power of resistance in American music, and the influence of Asia in music and culture.”