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In Remembrance of: Benjamin Henry, Eva Burrell, Eric Paul Jackson, Bertha Smith, Leon Guitry, Jackie Hall
By Richard Henry on March 14, 2010

Jazz pianist, composer and arranger Peter Martin released “In the P.M.” in 2005 that features bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Greg Hutchinson and vocalist Erin Bode. Peter Martin has also released albums “Something Unexpected” and “Set of Five”. He has placed 2nd in the 1993 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and toured with Christian McBride. “In the P.M.” features eleven total tracks of which nine are arrangements done by Peter Martin such as Only In A Dream by Jessie Davis and You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To by Cole Porter.

The third track of the album You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To is a treat featuring vocalist Erin Bode who sings very warmly in a clear, defined voice and tone. Greg Hutchinson provides the right balance on drums that accompanies the vocalist nicely. Erin Bode compliments Peter Martin and vise versa especially at the end of a phrase where the vocalist’s tone rises, setting us up for the wonderful piano solo that moves briskly and is daring. Ascending improvisatory sequences that are part of Peter Martin’s style are heard in his piano solo. Glimpses of gospel music are also heard in the piano. Erin Bode fills your ears with sound that will give you a pleasant, comfortable feeling.

Peter Martin provides a piano introduction in a triple meter that is not too stiff in the sixth track Only In A Dream. This piece has a hint of a mournful, yearning quality that is gladly welcomed due to the pianist’s creativity. Sparkles of colorful notes give the impression of autumn leaves and rain. The mood and music flow do increase in a way that is pleasing with good direction. Touches of the blues scale fit in nicely with the style of this piece. The bassist mimics the original melody with the pianist, producing a double effect. This piece indeed has a very dreamy color to it.

The seventh track The Answer, one of Peter Martin’s own compositions is one mammoth beast that is unrelenting that has you holding your breath during the journey. At the beginning, the pentatonic notes and ongoing melodic lines prepare us for the exciting buildup that occurs during the piano solo. Peter Martin is so good at lyrically leading the listener through melody and harmony. During the most intense parts of the piano solo, you hear descending arpeggios, chromatic ascending chords, repeated ascending fourth intervals, and other improvisation elements. It seems as if there is a subtle hint of a playful quality that makes the complicated appear effortless. There is an inevitable release of the music flow.

Erin Body is back in the tenth track The Nearness Of You. The precious, moderately soft style of her voice still has the intensity of a loud tone indicating excellent control and mastery of her voice. This piece is very relaxed as the interchange between Peter Martin and Erin Bode is timed superbly. You feel as if the vocalist is crafting her tones in such a way as to show the listener that she cares. The piano produces rich tones and soft touches that provide a platform for Erin Bode to sing such wonderful music.

I hope that Peter Martin is listened to more as he is a great gift to those of us who listen to jazz. The versatility of his playing keeps you wanting more as he shows that he can do anything on piano. He crafts his music phrases very carefully and creates improvisation material that is not only interesting but very imaginative. Erin Bode is an excellent addition to this album as I hope that we hear more of her. This is a very complete album that combines the old school and modern sounds transformed into a package of musical expression and sound. Get this cd and you will experience great music from great musicians.

In the P.M.
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