Five Questions for Doug Martin by Peter Hum

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June 14, 2011
The latest Ottawa jazz player to document his compositions is saxophonist Doug Martin. His CD, Odyssey, is to be launched this Friday at Cafe Paradiso.

Martin, who studied Jazz at Humber College in Toronto, has spent years abroad with bands around Canada and the U.S., playing blues, rock ‘n’ roll, pop, funk and jazz. In recent years, he has been teaching at several Ottawa-area music schools. Below, he tells the blog what led to the making of Odyssey.

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What prompted you to make your recording?
The most important thing which inspired me to record this CD was my recent travels in Europe. I was in Europe in the summer of 2007. I went to France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and England. That turned out to be one of those life-defining experiences for me, so, as a composer, it really wasn’t a big leap for me to conceive the idea of doing an album that expressed my impressions of the places, people and things I encountered on this journey.

Is this your debut as a recording artist?
I recorded a CD about 10 years ago. It was a sax-piano duo on which I was leader. I have also recorded with other bands over the years — R ‘n’ B and rock. This is the first time I have led a quartet and the first time I have composed all the music.

What’s the title of the disc?
Tell me about the material — are you playing standards, originals or both? Is your recording self-financed or did you receive financial support of any kind, from, for example, the City of Ottawa?
The CD is called Odyssey, which works for me on two levels. It is an odyssey in the obvious sense as I outlined above, but also in the sense that this project has been a two-year adventure from inception to completion. All the tunes were composed by me and were written to reflect my feelings about the places I visited. Consequently, there is, I think, considerable variation in style amongst the pieces — although they all fit loosely under the jazz rubric. Some tunes have a very familiar structure; others have identifiable structures that I invented; and still others are virtually formless. In no cases, did I have any interest in emulating the musical styles of the countries I visited.

I applied for a number of grants and got nothing. So I financed it myself.

Where and when did you record? How was your experience of working in the studio?
The recording took place Jan. 29 and 30, 2011 at Norm Glaude’s studio (Morning Anthem Studio) in Cumberland.

Although I have recorded many times in the past, this session was particularly gratifying for a number of reasons. It was the most intense and the most fun. First, because, having conceived the idea and having composed all the music this time, this project was my baby from start to finish. Second, my musicians were all very much involved in the project. They made many contributions along the way, not the least of which was their excellent performances in the studio. No egos either. The musicians, by the way, were Yves Laroche, Tom Denison, Ian Card and Jeff Asselin. And third, Norm Glaude’s studio is a very pleasant place to work and Norm himself was great to work with. He is a very competent engineer and also made some very helpful suggestions and virtually became another member of the band. Yeah, it was fun.

What plans or hopes do you have to promote the CD?
Ideally, I would like to use this CD to move my career up a notch, with higher profile gigs — more festivals, both in Canada and abroad, some air play, more money (geez, what a concept!).

The CD will be available at my gigs, of course. Also online, in record stores, at academies where I teach and anywhere else I haven’t thought of yet.

And it would be nice if I could sell enough of them to finance the next project.
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