Odyssey (Backburner Records) Doug Martin Quartet

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stars   2 1/2

June 19, 2012

On his website, saxophonist Doug Martin says creating a mood is essential to his music. On Odyssey, a 12-tune musical diary of a 2007 trip to Europe, Martin manages to do just that – taking listeners from Amsterdam to Paris, from Barcelona to Rome, and sharing a sense of what he found in each place .

From Budapest, he provides a tune (Unicum) with the slightly tipsy feeling he got from imbibing Hungary’s national drink. On Secret World, he conjurs the romance he discovered among the cottages in Vienna’s pretty Alte Donau district, and on Mediterranean Blue, there is the buoyancy he experienced from watching the glittering sea. Also included on the tour is a darker side trip to the death camps at Auschwitz and an eccentric visit to Franz Kafka’s Prague.

Martin, who’s been around Ottawa since the 1970s playing rock, R&B and mostly jazz, has a relaxed bop style and pleasant tone that is nicely complimented by his sidemen, especially pianist Yves Laroche.

The Doug Martin Quartet performs a free Ottawa jazz festival show on Thursday, June 21, at noon at the Rideau Centre.

– reviewed by Doug Fischer