Make some signature moves | Otago Daily Times News Online

Bill Martin is in the limelight tonight, but he still makes time for others, writes Tom McKinlay.

Bill Martin is playing with time again tonight, but we don’t have to worry about tears appearing in the space continuum.

On the other hand, the moments of transcendence are a chance.

Martin’s laboratory for these perspective-shifting experiments is once again the Dunedin Jazz Club, at Hanover Hall.

The occasion is the launch of To you, an album of Martin’s original compositions. The album, released earlier this year, was recorded live at Hanover Hall with a seven-piece band last year, and a slightly modified Bill Martin Septet will reform tonight to perform the compositions – and four new charts.

Leading the horn section are symphonic players Ralph Miller (trumpet) and Nick Cornish (alto saxophone), who will be joined by young guns Finn McKinlay (trombone) and Isaac Randel (tenor saxophone) – the final two members of the Dunedin conducted by Martin Youth Jazz Orchestra.

The four new rooms will be “littered” all night, says Martin.

“I don’t want to get too technical,” he says, “but I worked on this idea of ​​metrical modulation, and it’s the idea that you have a basic rhythm or meter for a track and the composition evolves, each new section just alters the rhythm slightly as it moves on to the next section of the piece.”

An example is a room called 1978which begins in 7/8, but the seven-beat pattern goes through various permutations to give each section a distinct feel and rhythm.

“We also have this piece called Carl’s groove“, he says, named after the band’s drummer, Carl Woodward.

“He had recorded a drum groove for me, which was in 3/4 time but the way the drum groove was played could have three beats in a bar or four. So this track, Carl’s grooveis just a play on the different possibilities that were contained in the original drum loop.”

It’s an indication of where the band is headed and inspired by American jazz pianist Bill Evans’ playbook, Martin says.

“He wrote a lot of music but he didn’t arrange it a lot, he just expected the other guys in the bandstand to be able to follow what he was doing – and he tended to improvise those things.

“So after a chorus of a solo, he would choose a new type of rhythm that he would layer on the same series of chord changes.”

Martin says he hopes that by recording and releasing the original Dunedin Jazz, young musicians will be inspired to do the same.

“We have our own style of jazz in Dunedin,” he says, “and we can leverage our unique strengths to present music that reflects this city.”

The concert

– Bill Martin Septet: To you album launch.

Tonight, Dunedin Jazz Club at Hanover Hall, 7:30 p.m. More info at

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