The Hidden Notes: Spirit of Adventure - John Martin -
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The Hidden Notes offers a window into a unique sound world. It is a celebration of the saxophone and all the beautiful colours that are hidden just beneath the surface.

When a musician plays a note of a certain pitch, the musical instrument resonates, producing a complex pattern of sound waves made up of many different frequencies. The most noticeable sound wave is called the fundamental, but there are other waves with higher frequencies, called harmonics. These are the hidden notes.

John Martin has spent the last 4 years coaxing these rather shy and often badly behaved notes out from their hiding places. Through the use of special fingerings and blowing techniques it is possible to produce several notes simultaneously, extending the sound world of the saxophone from a monophonic to a polyphonic instrument. Martin's focus is on incorporating these polyphonic sounds into tonal music.

Circular breathing then allows for the development of continuous rhythmic patterns, opening up many new exciting rhythmic and textural possibilities.


John Martin Tenor Saxophone & Compositions
Tim Fairhall Double Bass
Rob Updegraff Guitar
Ralph Wyld Vibraphone 
Tim Giles Drums


Disk 1    
Pentacision Part One 11:11
Pentacision Part Two 5:07
Heptopia 9:12
Prelude 1:44
Spirit of Adventure 8:10
Prelude 1:52
Tick Tock 8:30
Disk 2    
The Optimistic Pessimist 6:43
Prelude 1:49
Folklore 6:51
Whisper 8:57
Giant's Stomp 8:02
Eddies 7:34
Unity 6:11

Recorded by Ben Lamdin at Fish Factory studio on the 29 & 30 July 2015.


"Very cool use of multi phonics and overtones...He's certainly found the "notes between the notes"!... He's found his own way to do this, and the result is beautiful and compelling"
- Bob Mintzer

"John martin has thought (and realised) the unthinkable; harnessing all the crazy and wild multiphonic sounds that a saxophone can make, he has crafted them within the finest compositions. No small feat. These resources are hard to control, and it is a patient labour of some love for the instrument that he has succeeded where others have not dared tread... not just the gimmick of one squawky tune, but a controlled double album of surprises and varied emotion… A  milestone for both himself and the saxophone world”
- Barak Schmool

"thoughtful and technically adventurous music…Martin builds improvisations with a fine concern for tonal subtleties, shrewdly making use of multiphonic sounds and advanced fingerings… a distinctive voice and an explorer of restless promise"
- John Fordham - The Guardian

"The sounds that Martin finds and works with have an elegance to them that is markedly different from the sort of jarring, squawking that one might associate with overtones and multiphonics and that way in which Martin and his band build these into the pieces is stunning"
- Chris Baber – Jazzviews

"You could be forgiven for thinking on occasions while listening to this band of vibraphone (Ralph Wyld), guitar (Rob Updegraff), double bass (Tim Fairhall) and drums (Tim Giles) that it was fronted by multiple saxophones. That is because John Martin, who plays tenor throughout, is a master of multiphonics"
- Peter Bacon – Jazz Breakfast