The Apprentice - (Permanent)
This fellow is anything but an apprentice, a musician of the highest order who is prepared to take chances with his music. With a back catalogue as long as your arm his pedigree is there for all to see. Now he returns after something of a hiatus with a totally impressive new album. With a backup of Alan Thomson on bass, Foster Paterson on drums [sic] and sax from Colin Tully and Andy Sheppard, percussion from Danny Cummings with Danuscha on backing vocals and a special rhythm guitar contribution from Taj Wyzgowski on some tracks. Here Martyn forsakes some of the power of his previous album to give us an album full of the blues with jazz tinges, a thing he does well. He's got a loyal audience and his albums invariably do reasonably well commercially without ever going mega. The guy is consistent producing around twenty albums to date. Many beautiful, wistful songs on this album and Martyn conveys them in that lazy improvising manner that is unique to him. He crosses the borders of folk, jazz and rock and that confounds a lot of people who want to categorise performers. The album is a winner and after just a couple of plays I love it. Late March sees him on tour, sounds like a good night out to me. The album will surely push Martyn back into that old spotlight again.