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Artists Jean Martin

Jean Martin has appeared and collaborated with: Juno nominated DD Jackson, David Murray, Dominic Duval, Chelsea Bridge, Kevin Turcotte, Peggy Lee, Tony Wilson, Brad Turner, Lori Freedman & Marilyn Lerner, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, The National Arts Centre Orchestra, legendary Canadian blues man Dutch Mason, Rebecca Campbell, Andy Stochansky, Zubot & Dawson, Bob Fenton, Roddy Ellias, Tim Postgate’s Jazzstory, Christine Duncan, Hugh Fraser, George Kohler, Bob Murphy, David Mott, The Bitches Brew Band, Rob Frayne, The Jivewires, Vernon Issac, Rich Underhill, Justin Haynes, Hugh Marsh, The Henry’s and many others.

He has also appeared on a one hour TFO and BRAVO TV jazz special entitled, “DUOS” performing improvisations with Award winning trumpeter Kevin Turcotte.

Jean is involved in a new project put together by Ajay Heble and the Guelph Jazz festival. A Jazz Opera with the music of DD Jackson, featuring Peggy Lee, Brad Turner, John Geggie and Dean Bowan among others. This piece will be performed for the 10th annual Jazz festival in Guelph and in Vancouver in September 2003.

With the Jean Martin Trio: he has recorded 2 CD’s and has toured Canada on three occasions, performing at most Jazz festivals in this country. The latest recording a completely improvised work will be released with a short tour in November 2003. The trio features guitarist Justin Haynes and trumpeter Kevin Turcotte.

With Chelsea Bridge: He has released 5 CD’s on Unity Page Records, has done 4 Canadian tours from ’92 to ’97, was featured at the Blue Note in NYC, the Molda International Jazz Festival in Norway and the Washington DC Jazz Fest (Canadian Jazz Ambassador Series).

With DD Jackson: He has released 2 CD’s on Justin Time Records, has toured France (including: Maubeuge & Rouen International Jazz Festivals, Feb.’97), 2 Canadian tours in ’94 & ’95 and was featured at various venues in Northern USA (Montana, Seattle, Buffalo and various clubs in NYC) including a CD release gig at the Fez Jazz Club in NYC, with legendary saxophonist David Murray.

Jean Martin also leads The Bitches Brew Band, a 7 piece Miles Davis Psychedelic tribute band that has toured several times in central Canada, from ’95 to ’99.

His new group Barnyard Drama is an improvising duo featuring vocalist Christine Duncan. Jean combines elements of free improv with turntables and electronics. They are touring Canada this summer promoting a new CD Memories and a List of Things to Do.

Jean Martin

Residence: Toronto (Ontario, Canada)

  • Composer
  • Performer (drum kit, turntable)

Associated groups

On the web

Jean Martin

Main releases

Barnyard Records / BR 0332 / 2013
Barnyard Records / BR 0317 / 2012
Barnyard Records / BR 0323 / 2011
Barnyard Records / BR 0314 / 2010
Barnyard Records / BR 0320 / 2010
  • Soon
Barnyard Records / BR 0311 / 2009
Barnyard Records / BR 0315 / 2009
Barnyard Records / BR 0306 / 2008
Barnyard Records / BR 0303 / 2007
Barnyard Records / BR 0304 / 2007
Barnyard Records / BR 2007 / 2007
Ambiances Magnétiques / AM 147 / 2006
Barnyard Records / BR 0301 / 2003
Barnyard Records / BR 0302 / 2003
Unity Records / UTY 169 / 1999

In the press

  • Jean Martin’s Farm
    David Dacks, Exclaim!, November 1, 2008
    [The label Barnyard Records] has become a focal point of the bustling Toronto improvisers scene over the past several years.

Jean Martin’s Farm

David Dacks, Exclaim!, November 1, 2008

Former industrial lands are notorious for being colonized by artists. This is particularly true of Montréal, but Toronto has seen its fair share of artsy activity in abandoned downtown buildings. Toronto’s artists’ districts of this type are in decline, reclaimed by condos or awaiting further development, yet a few holdouts remain.

The southern stretch of Sterling Road is one example. There’s a pleasing ratio of fully to partly demolished factories alongside reclaimed artist spaces and there are plenty of moody concrete piazzas for inspiration. The southern edge of one of these blank concrete fields is where you’ll find Jean Martin’s Farm.

Martin is a drummer and engineer whose studio (and label, Barnyard Records) has become a focal point of the bustling Toronto improvisers scene over the past several years. He explains: “‘The Farm’ comes from when Christine [Duncan, singer] and I lived in an abandoned farm, in Burlington, ON. We were there for about a year, and the name stuck even when we moved in town. Now the property has been bought by rich people to house fancy cars and spoiled kids, probably.” That may well happen on Sterling Road, but condos aren’t baying at his door just yet.

Martin’s live/work space is a haven from the bleakness outside. It’s a typical single room loft space whose walls are crammed with CDs, books and records. Being part of the top floor, the room benefits from the pleasant glow of a skylight. A grey cat and several dozen dolls of various cultural origins — yes, it’s funny/creepy — preside over the space. Beautiful hardwood floors dominate, and the stuff of everyday life is the only sound insulation. There’s no control room, isolation booth or acoustic tile anywhere. You’d hardly know this was a studio were it not for the discreet rack of gear and telltale dual computer monitors that scream “professional artist” — although his Nuendo recording platform runs on a PC, not a Mac. He’s never had any problems working on PC, and it’s much less expensive. The Farm is as much about composition as recording. Martin often has a collaborative role, either as a player or an engineer, in Farm projects. Most Barnyard releases contain a fair bit of studio craft verging on out and out dub mixing, in stark contrast to the verité approach to recording of most free improv releases. Martin believes that if you want to hear what a band sounds like, go see them live, but a recording session should be about using the studio creatively. “I always believe that a record should be a piece of art,” he asserts.

[The label Barnyard Records] has become a focal point of the bustling Toronto improvisers scene over the past several years.


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