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The Barrett Martin Group Announces the Release of Its 6th Album “Transcendence”

Barrett Martin in concertGrammy-winning producer, drummer, and composer Barrett Martin returns with his Modern Jazz ensemble, The Barrett Martin Group, and their 6th studio album, Transcendence. Following on the heels of his first book, “The Singing Earth,” the Transcendence album was released on February 23rd worldwide through Sunyata Records, Sony/Orchard Digital Distribution, and Think Indie/CIMS Distribution.
Renowned as a session drummer and percussionist on over 100 Jazz, Rock, Blues, and World music albums, Barrett’s work can be heard on albums by REM, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season, Luna, Screaming Trees, Walking Papers, Tuatara, Brazilian singer Nando Reis, Delta Blues legend CeDell Davis, and recording sessions that range from the Peruvian Amazon, to Brazil, Cuba, and even Jerusalem. Barrett recently won a Latin Grammy for his production and drum work on the Brazilian album “Jardim-Pomar.” Re-emerging with his own Barrett Martin Group and their 6th album Transcendence, the band effortlessly blends Jazz, Blues, African, Brazilian, and Cuban rhythms, Ambient and Classical music, and a mixture of exotic percussion that includes Indonesian gamelans, marimbas, kalimbas, and several handmade instruments.

As Barrett describes the band’s unique sound: “I started out with a Jazz and Classical music education, and I carried those influences with me when I started working as a studio musician and producer. Years later I studied ethnomusicology, both in graduate school and around the world, so those forms of music began to influence how I composed and produced music. By the time I started the BMG, I had synthesized many forms of world music, so we have this Jazz-Blues-World music approach to the songs, but there’s also a variety of rhythmic influences from my experience as a drummer, so it’s a very colorful and nuanced band, and very emotive. Most importantly, our music seems to resonate with people around the world, from all different cultures, so I think we’re on to something.”

Transcendence also features some amazing guest performers, including keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, Wolof drum master Thione Diop, REM guitarist Peter Buck, and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist David Catching. The BMG main band features a line-up of Seattle’s top Jazz and session musicians.

Barrett 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
Lisette Garcia – Latin Percussion


Track Listing

1. Invocation
2. Speak!
3. Sands of Venus
4. Swingin’ on a Moonbeam
5. Miss Galactic Fantastic
6. The Asp
7.  Play the 4th Prime
8. Nebula
9. Rise & Rise
10 Listen!
11. Wizard of the Desert
12. The Grover
13. Arrival of the Queen
14. Moonfish
15. Event Horizon


Album notes

1. Invocation – This is a short, rhythmic introduction to the album, featuring Wolof drum master Thione Diop playing a traditional “talking drum”, with me on drum set playing with my hands.
2. Speak! – This is a Brazilian-influenced Jazz Rock piece with a marching Samba groove and a horn arrangement reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin’s film soundtrack work.
3. Sands of Venus – This song is built around a great backbeat with an upright bass riff and a Japanese koto. It’s one of the more psychedelic Jazz tunes on the album, especially because of Wayne Horvitz’s processed piano solo, ala John Cage.
4. Swingin’ on a Moonbeam – This is the most traditional Jazz tune on the album with a 6/8 swing combined with an African cowbell pattern similar to what Max Roach did in the 1960s. Great big band horn melody on this one.
5. Miss Galactic Fantastic – This is a tribute I wrote for my wife, but it’s really for all empowered women. The horn melody is backed up by acapella vocals, giving the melody a beautiful, angular quality.
6. The Asp – The is probably the best Jazz Rock hybrid on the album, featuring a blistering guitar solo by David Catching, the famous Los Angeles session guitarist.
7. Play the 4th Prime – The is the most Brazilian influenced song, and the one Spotify picked for its “State Of Jazz” playlist (109,000 plays so far). I played a berimbau percussion pattern in 7/8 to create the structure, and then soprano sax and piano play counter melodies together.
8. Nebula – This song is what I call a “palate cleanser” for a percussive heavy album, so there are no drums and it’s an ambient piece that features a haunting, atmospheric trumpet.
9. Rise & Rise – This is the other song that Spotify picked for its “State Of Jazz” playlist (currently at 53,000 plays). This one has a very strong melody played on the soprano sax, with an atmospheric sitar strumming in the background.
10. Listen! – This is the 2nd rhythmic piece that bisects the album, also featuring the Wolof drum master Thione Diop on his talking drum, with me on drum set playing with my hands.
11. Wizard of the Desert – This is the other Jazz Rock hybrid featuring David Catching on a superb guitar solo. This was recorded at his studio in Joshua Tree, where he truly is the Wizard of The Desert.
12. The Grover – This song is an experiment that blends staggered horn riffs with atmospheric chord changes in the two bridges. This song features some beautiful guitar work by REM guitarist Peter Buck.
13. Arrival of the Queen – This is a traditional Afro Beat rhythm that I morphed into a unique triplet feel. It has a beautiful horn melody that sounds quite regal, like a queen making her entrance.
14. Moonfish – This is a beautifully spacious song that uses an Arabic maqam (scale) for the piano and trumpet melodies, and also features short melodic runs on an Arabic oud (lute).
15. Event Horizon – This is the 2nd and final ambient piece on the album. Another palate cleanser that focuses on a single trumpet and some atmospheric guitar work. It’s a perfect ending for an album this adventurous.