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"Ian Martin - The Way"

http://www.soulportal.dk/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=509


Ian Martin: The Way

The Canadian bass player, songwriter and producer Ian Martin has just slipped his second album. The title of the album is "The Way" and contains a perfect round of delicate soul music.

Ian Martin is collaborating with Andreas Hellingh out of Amsterdam on "The Way". The two have spent five years together trying to make the ultimate soul album.

Ian Martin is perhaps not know to the wide masters - but his career includes work for big artist such as; Maxwell, Amel Larrieux, Jahiem, Ronny Jordan and Roy Ayers.

The album "The Way" is real good. Ian Martin has on this occasion also included a stellar line-up with names such as; Cavin Christopher, Sy Smith, Craig T. Cooper, Tim Owens, Jeff Robinson and Louis Van Taylor.

The style on "The Way" is simple - high class soul done with exceptional good musicians and singers.

Tracks to be highlighted is; "Release" with Sy Smith, and the sublime modern soul room gem "Movin On". Delighted I was when I heard Gavin Christopher back in great shape on the track "Brother".

Added: September 12th 2005
Reviewer: Frank Ryle


*Translated text as found on the follow web link


- Soulportal.dk


"Expanison Records Track Reviews"

http://www.expansionrecords.com/soulexposed.htm


EXPANSION RECORDS
Track Listings

REVIEW


4. Brother (4:40) - Ian Martin (ft. Gavin Christopher)

Ian, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, is no stranger to the UK soul scene. His debut album, titled “One”, was released in 2000. “One”, was actually a set of songs that were then originally student demos, and the songs were polished enough to present in full, motivating Ian to peruse recording further. The track, “Brother”, is selected from his sophomore album titled, “The Way”, just out on Expansion Records featuring the Los Angeles based Gavin Christopher on vocals. Gavin is no stranger in the industry either being well remembered for the hit, “One Step Closer to You”. He was part of Chaka Khan's band Lyfe, and he penned Rufus' biggest hit to date, “Once You Get Started”. He also wrote and performed, “Stars In Your Eyes”, for Herbie Hancock. Ian pulls out the best of Gavin for his track, “Brother”.

- Expansion Records


"Martin, Ian - The Way - [Expansion Records]"

http://www.funkjunkiez.biz/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=91


Martin, Ian - The Way - [Expansion] - 2005

Sitting in Heathrow’s Terminal 2 waiting for an Air France flight probably doesn’t seem the ideal setting for reviewing one of the best CD’s of the year, but when you have the attention span of a goldfish, as I do, it focuses you entirely on the job in hand. The first thing to note is that Ian Martin is obviously an accomplished musician and bassist. And when it comes to selecting guest vocalists to deliver his tunes, he knows how to pick them. Sy Smith, Gavin Christopher and Jeff Robinson are the names that will be familiar, but the likes of Jill Zadeh, Jason Joseph and Kes Stanton are definitely ones to look out for. Now I’m not ashamed to say that I think the 80’s soul vibe was definitely the halcyon era of Soul and R&B, and in “The Way” Ian Martin has brought it back wonderfully. “Release” features the exquisite vocal talents of Sy Smith and is without a doubt my favourite tune of the moment. Sexy and sultry it’s the ultimate mid-tempo groove and the lyrics are to die for. It’s all about freeing your mind and releasing your soul, which it makes so easy to do, it should be illegal. The DJ’s will be demanding a vinyl release of this at some stage, hopefully before the bootleggers get to work on it. “Brother” has a real Dennis Edwards “Don’t Look Any Further” vibe going on. With Gavin Christopher fronting the track and Craig T Cooper on the guitar it’s solid gold soul. Not as dancey as “Don’t Look…” it won’t find much appeal as a club track but if you like your chill out bars chilled to perfection then this should do the job perfectly. “It’s Your Nite” is a dance groove, and I apologise in advance for overusing the word perfect, but this really is. The ultimate party track, it has that brit-soul groove or should I say Euro-soul groove similar to 3D or K-Rob and at a delightful 106 bpm delights your feet into doing something other than filling shoes and stopping you from falling over. The E-Drew Remix of “You Are” has Jill Zadeh supplying all of the vocals on a real uptempo jam. If you want to dance then this is the track. It walks the line between jazz-funk and funky house, but it’s a line that blurs so sweetly, it doesn’t matter what genre it falls into, because when it drops, it drops hard especially Andrew Dorsett’s masterful keyboard solo. “No Regrets” has the high pitch guitar riff that’s introduced classics such as “WordyRappingHood” and “Thinking Of You”, but when the beat kicks in you’ll experience something substantially more sophisticated Jill Zadeh lays down the background vocals as Jason Joseph supplies the lead. Sweeter than honeyed Ice Tea it’s a delectable groove for you to submerge into. “Moving On” on the other hand, is a musical wormhole transporting you back to the days when Soul II Soul made violins a pre-requisite in R&B. Featuring Robin McKelle on the lead vocals, it’s a coin toss between this and “Release” as my ultimate track. But at only 3:57 it doesn’t have the 80’s tendency to deliver tunes that used to be over 8 minutes long, but I usually play it at least twice anyway. “Knockdown Side” brings shades of William Bell to mind a sort of “Heavy On The Love Side” trip that will compel steppers into action in their droves, Kandace Lindsay joins Jeff Robinson on the vocals and are a pairing made in heaven. Another delightful track that gives all of the retro feel without ever having to resort to sampling someone else’s work. As seems to be the way recently, there have to be a few tracks with a hint of latin feel, and “So In Love” is the first. It’s as sultry and dusky as a warm evening in Cancun, the bass is delightful but it’s Kes Stanton’s wonderfully neo-soulful vocals hat bring it to life. Definitely a tune to listen out for. “Family” keeps it in the latin groove with more of a samba feel, but it does stand out like a sore thumb. Essentially a latin jazz track, it is very different from everything else. Those who like Light Of The World’s smooth jazz grooves will love it down to the ground. Listen out for the Benny Golson type breaks midway, they are exquisite. The SOS Band’s “Tell Me If You Still Care” is the only cover version on the album and gets a great re-working. The bass is twangy and intense an comparable to the excellent NuWorldSoul vibe. A must for anyone putting together an essential instrumental compilation. “Le Chemin” slaps you in your face and gets your attention. Upfront funky soul with divine vocals, a delicious chorus and a title that needs some translation, but doesn’t affect the overall appeal. “Let Me Give You More” is the last of the proper tracks with only an outro to follow. It’s a ballad, and a very good one at that. The lyrics are crystal clear and is a wondrous duet featuring Tim Owens and Jill Zadeh. The sort of classic showstopper you’d expect from Patti & Peabo or Cheryl & Luther it builds nicely to a crescendo of feeling, passion and emotion for those sultry nights when two people need a little musical accompaniment for those nocturnal activities.

It’s definitely The Way to make an album.

Added: September 18th 2005
Reviewer: Alfie Da Funkjunky


- funkjunkiez.biz


"GROOVE & BEAZ"

http://www.soulsite.de/sonic/review-grooveandbeaz.shtml?id=347

Label: Expansion

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'The Way'
Ian Martin

Ralph Tee´s Expansion Firma liefert wieder gewohnte Qualität. Damit ist natürlich das Wesentliche über Ian Martin´s zweite Compact Disc (der Erstling drehte anno 2000 seine Runden und hinterließ nachhaltigsten Eindruck als eine der wichtigen Indie-Soul Produktionen dieses Jahrgangs) geschrieben…und Freunde des Labels haben für „The Way“ sicherlich schon entsprechend Platz im Abspielgerät reserviert. Dabei haben sich Herrn Martins musikalische Gewichtungen dezent verschoben – während sich „One“ stilsicher an den Großmeistern der Soul-Jazz Szenerie (Norman Connors darf in diesem Zusammenhang durchaus Erwähnung finden) orientiert, beschreitet er nun einen leichtgewichtigeren Pfad – beschwingte Melodien über flotten Rhythmen („It´s Your Nite“ oder „Release“ sind perfekte Begleiter für den Weg zum Strand) geben den Ton vor und Ian und seine Mitwirkenden (u.a. Craig T. Cooper an der Gitarre und eine kleine String-Section, sowie eine Schar handverlesener Vokalisten – Sy Smith, Gavin Christopher, Jeff Robinson, Tim Owens, Jill Zadeh….etc.) stimmen munter ein. Trotz aller vordergründiger Unverbindlichkeit bleiben die Songs jederzeit spannend – Martin gelingt es immer wieder mittels kleiner, feiner Zutaten (die Streicher-Partien beim „Movin´On“ Dancer…) keine Beliebigkeit aufkommen zu lassen. Und mit free-flowing Grooves, wie Gavin Christopher´s Beitrag „Brother“ (dezente Funk-Basis und wieder diese Streicher - einer der wichtigen Tracks für den erwachsenen Dancefloor) oder den beiden Jeff Robinson Tracks (sein eigenes, schon 1998 veröffentlichtes Album „Any Shade Of Blue“ sei hiermit als besonders gelungenes Jazz-Soul Programm noch einmal mit Nachdruck empfohlen) „Knockdown Side“ und „Le Chemin“ (jeweils mit ganz eigener Note – Soul, und ein eine Prise Jazz und Funk – aufgelockert mit gar rockender Gitarre bei „Le Chemin“ – keine Alltäglichkeit) verbleibt Ian Martin ohnehin auf Gewinnerseite.







- soulsite.de


"Soul Express CD Review"

http://www.kolumbus.fi/soulexpr/ianmartin.htm


IAN MARTIN – The Way
(UK Expansion, 2005)
Welcome - Release - Brother - It's Your Nite - You Are (eDrew Remix) - No Regrets - Movin' On - Knockdown Side - Interlude 2 - So In Love (eDrew Remix) - Family - Tell Me If You Still Care - Le Chemin - Let Me Give You More - Outro

Ian Martin’s debut album in 2000 was one of THE albums of that year. Of course we all wanted more from the man, and it has taken 5 years and the encouragement of hard working and irrepressible Soulster Andreas Hellingh to get this second release. Thank God it all paid off!

I have to say, though that I was quite taken aback by this release and in fact was quite in 2 minds about it for quite a few days. Why? Well, whereas the first album was firmly entrenched in a mellow quality soul side, this set is more uptempo, neo-soul and verges on a slight British sound in places. This just shows yet again what expectation can do to cause some initial consternation. Having got used to the set I can do nought but thoroughly recommend it. However, I still think "One" has a slight edge on this album BUT what we do have now is a more rounded, in the groove Ian Martin who means business and does not take prisoners when it comes to showcasing fantastic vocal talents.

We have not only great vocalist but also live strings and instrumentation that are right in the pocket and add more weight to this excellent Expansion release. "Release" with its echoey, rumbly bass and funky keys set the scene perfectly; drenched with airy synth and vocals from Sy Smith with support from Jill Zedah. Just lovely, and one for the dying days of summer. Gavin Christopher is one of my favourite voices from the 70s and 80s and this funky summer outing acts as a great vehicle for this gentleman. Check out the swirling strings and funky guitar!

Talking of the 80s, I really love the Midnight Star type groove of "It’s Your Nite", a song like this can do little more than make you feel cheerful – anything that has that affect on me must be something quite remarkable, I have just been told! Anyway, the intertwining vocals of Kampaign and Donovan Henry really work a treat on the ears. This song is highly recommended.

"You Are" is a remix – it is uptempo and quite good but not as essential as the much slower and soulful original version which can be obtained on the original US release available through www.ianmartinmusic.com. On both versions Jill Zadeh excels, as we would expect.

The KILLER cut on the UK set for me is the sensational stepper, "Movin’ On". This has a fantastic loping beat, is well paced, smattered with scratchy guitar and swirling strings. Vocalist Robyn McKelle is a great singer and she does real justice to the happy, fun groove. This would be perfect alongside any track from my recently reviewed "Official Steppers Album" by Da Producers. I would recommend this album for this song alone, it really is that good!

- kolumbus.fi


"IAN MARTIN: Expansion THE WAY"

http://www.bluesandsoul.com/albumreviews.html


Modern soulsters lucky enough to have had sneak previews of this album have been raving about its quality and class, and having just
managed to bag my own copy, I’m forced to add my support to those assertions. Ian Martin’s a writer/producer and multi instrumentalist who’s been around the scene for a while but with “The Way” he’s clearly emerged as a major player. Why? Well, “The Way” is a totally modern album but Martin’s put it together with a real affection for soul’s past. Take for example the LP’s big tune, “Brother”. The song’s a beauty driven along by strings and a Sanborn-era sax courtesy of Andre Delano, while guest vocalist Gavin Christopher hits it just right. The cut wouldn’t have been out of place on Maxwell’s “Urban Hang Suite” - another album, of course, with a
real soul pedigree. But it’s unfair to make comparisons. Martin’s crafted his own masterpiece here. “Brother” is just one of many fine cuts. “Release”, for instance, is a gentle stepper featuring the vocal of Sy Smith, while “It’s Your Nite” is a much lighter confection destined to fill modern room floors. “Le Chemin” offers some retrospection, while the knee-trembling “Let Me Give You More” is one helluva of a big ballad made by the chemistry of vocalists Tim Owens and Jill Zadeh. Elsewhere “Family” has a pleasing Latin feeling, while Jam & Lewis’s “Tell Me If You Care” is given a very sophisticated (but not bland) lite jazz makeover adding real variety to a very satisfying set and one, which I have to say, was played right through time after time. It’s a while since a brand new album has worked that kind of magic on jaded ol’ me. (BB) - Blues & Soul Magazine


"Soul Track Review"

http://www.soultracks.com/ian_martin.htm


IAN MARTIN

A career in soul or jazz music was about the farthest thing from the mind of a young Ian Martin, the son of a Pentecostal minister living with his Jamaican/Canadian family in Toronto. There were no "black music" stations in Toronto at the time and even if there were, secular music was generally forbidden in his strict household. To hear non-Gospel music Ian had to visit his uncle's record collection or try to pick up a Buffalo, New York station on the radio.
As a teen, a friend played for Ian an album by British pop/soul group Level 42, and he had an epiphany and a new desire to find out about jazz and soul music. His parents moved to East Africa to missionary work and Ian stayed behind to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began a career as a noted bassist. Around that time he also independently released his debut album, One, which received good notice internationally.
In 2005, after a five year recording absence, Martin released his sophomore album, The Way. Reminiscent of some of the great Quincy Jones albums of the 70s and 80s, on The Way Martin brings together great musicians like guitarist Craig T. Cooper and fine vocalist such as Sy Smith and Gavin Christopher to support an album largely written, produced and arranged by Martin. And the result is one of the best jazz/soul crossover albums of the year.
Like the great producers, Martin coaxes fantastic work from his guests, whether it is the sultry singing of Kes Stanton and the fine organ of Tim Carmon on the cool "So In Love," the beautiful Matt Rohde piano work on the Philly-style ballad "Let Me Give You More," or the Patti Austin-like vocals of Robin McKelle on "Movin' On," the performances are simply top notch front-to-back. And the compositions are equally strong. Best of all is "Brother," a wonderful mid-tempo number that Christopher nails vocally (sounding a bit like Ali Ollie Woodson).
While many smooth jazz artists have made their living for years churning out template albums of jazzy soul covers with guest vocalists, few artists have recreated the originality and cohesion of the Quincy Jones and Norman Connors albums of a quarter century ago. The Way succeeds wonderfully in this vein and makes Martin's case that he is a broadly talented writer/producer and artist who has a very bright future. Highly recommended.
- soultracks.com


"IAN MARTIN-Soul Tracks, Highly Recommended"

http://www.soultracks.com/ian_martin.htm

A career in soul or jazz music was about the farthest thing from the mind of a young Ian Martin, the son of a Pentecostal minister living with his Jamaican/Canadian family in Toronto. There were no "black music" stations in Toronto at the time and even if there were, secular music was generally forbidden in his strict household. To hear non-Gospel music Ian had to visit his uncle's record collection or try to pick up a Buffalo, New York station on the radio.

As a teen, a friend played for Ian an album by British pop/soul group Level 42, and he had an epiphany and a new desire to find out about jazz and soul music. His parents moved to East Africa to missionary work and Ian stayed behind to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began a career as a noted bassist. Around that time he also independently released his debut album, One, which received good notice internationally.

In 2005, after a five year recording absence, Martin released his sophomore album, The Way. Reminiscent of some of the great Quincy Jones albums of the 70s and 80s, on The Way Martin brings together great musicians like guitarist Craig T. Cooper and fine vocalist such as Sy Smith and Gavin Christopher to support an album largely written, produced and arranged by Martin. And the result is one of the best jazz/soul crossover albums of the year.

Like the great producers, Martin coaxes fantastic work from his guests, whether it is the sultry singing of Kes Stanton and the fine organ of Tim Carmon on the cool "So In Love," the beautiful Matt Rohde piano work on the Philly-style ballad "Let Me Give You More," or the Patti Austin-like vocals of Robin McKelle on "Movin' On," the performances are simply top notch front-to-back. And the compositions are equally strong. Best of all is "Brother," a wonderful mid-tempo number that Christopher nails vocally (sounding a bit like Ali Ollie Woodson).

While many smooth jazz artists have made their living for years churning out template albums of jazzy soul covers with guest vocalists, few artists have recreated the originality and cohesion of the Quincy Jones and Norman Connors albums of a quarter century ago. The Way succeeds wonderfully in this vein and makes Martin's case that he is a broadly talented writer/producer and artist who has a very bright future. Highly recommended. - chris rizik-soul tracks


Discography

Currently, songs from "The Way" can be heard all over the Internet. It has been licensed by UK record company, "Expansion Records" and the singles "Brother" and "Movin' On" are being heavily rotated all over Europe on Internet, satellite, and traditional radio. Also, first release "One" is still being played on radio internationally.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"Where has Ian been"? It has been 5 years since "One" and we haven't heard a thing, until now. "The Way," Ian's sophomore release is a much-anticipated follow up project that is definitely worth the wait. Ian returns with an all-star cast featuring vocalists; Jill Zadeh, Sy Smith, Gavin Christopher, Robin McKelle, Jeff Robinson and others. All of who help take this project to new heights.

Ian is a multi instrumentalist born in Toronto Canada, who went to college in Boston, and now resides in Los Angles. He started with piano lessons at 7 then took up drums in his father’s church at age 8. At 16 he switched to bass and made it his principal instrument.

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2001, Ian has been bassist to artists' like
Maxwell, Res, Ronny Jordan, and now Barry Manilow. "Playing with such
different artists' has been such a privilege and a great musical learning
experience. It gives me the unique perspective of how different artists'
approach their music, weather performing, writing, or producing. Barry is an artist that I admire immensely because he has followed his own path throughout most of his career. He follows his instincts and does what he believes in.”

Though being an artist is something that Ian now really embraces, it can be challenging because he doesn’t fall into the traditional role of artist.
“Many people are surprised and shocked when I tell them I've completed my solo project. I always hear-"but you don't sing," well I don't consider myself a singer, but I write arrange, produce, and perform most of my songs. So how does that make me less of an artist just because I’m not a singer?”

So what took so long for the follow up? “ The time wasn’t right, I wasn’t ready. I moved to a new city and was focused on getting my career going in other ways. But now I’m happy to get back to what I do.”
“The Way” is a great follow up project, which goes from Jazz to soul to R&B with a splash of smooth. “I now look at each project as a “snap shot” of where I’m at, at that time, both in music and life. The Way perfectly captured where I was while writing it. However I know the next CD will be quite different than this one, I’m still very much growing and I love it!” Ian also says, “I believe we all have something to contribute, in each of us in our special ways. I have something to share and I hope that my sincerity will be felt and touch someone."

"The Way" is soul music, with heavy jazz/R&B influences. Very melodic and listener friendly, with insatiable grooves. The live show, is much funkier, with a lot of group improvisation, and a whole lot of fun.