News & Reviews

Review: Phillip “Doc” Martin – Realization

Smooth Jazz Therapy

The very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul.

March 14, 2010

Rising sax star Phillip ‘Doc’ Martin certainly has it all going on. Despite his relatively tender years Martin already has the critically acclaimed ‘Saxappeal’ and ‘Pride & Joy’ albums under his belt and has now come roaring back with the recently released ‘Realization’. An extravagant combination of original music and innovative covers it includes production input from the ubiquitous Darren Rahn and represents a significant milestone in Martin’s rapidly advancing musical career.

Born in Indiana of Jamaican parents Martin grew up in South Florida and by age fourteen was being noticed for the quality of his playing. Before graduation he had already released his debut CD and on moving to Washington DC (to attend the Howard University Of Dentistry) became a member of the Marcus Johnson Project. ‘Pride & Joy’ followed in 2007. It heralded in his own label, Saxtime Entertainment, and it is on this imprint that ‘Realization’ has now emerged.

The zesty title cut exemplifies mid tempo smooth jazz at its very best and, although the compelling ‘Fall In Love’ provides more of the sumptuous same, Martin slips deliciously into melodically mellow mode for the cool ‘Love Won’t Let You Down’. In complete contrast, ‘Funky Lovin’ is big, jazzy and enriched by a powerhouse horn section while the mildly turned down ‘Deep Pockets’ is the sort of song guaranteed to grow on you. It’s a further demonstration of the way Martin effortlessly handles fluctuating emotions and another is with ‘Waiting’ where the addition of Cindi Kornhaus on cello and Mike Gamble on guitar affords a real melancholy to this wistfully smooth tune.

‘Daydream 2009’ is another turned down gem that this time is underpinned by a shuffling beat and the handsomely understated ‘So Fine’ is one more superb example of the original music on show. Here, Alvin White’s significant contribution on guitar is the link to Jobim’s marvellous ‘Wave’ for which Martin does an equally excellent job and as he stays with cover versions for a chilled out take of the Ledisi hit ‘Alright’ he delivers an urban delight of the highest order.

The track originally appeared on her 2007 CD ‘Lost & Found’ and when for inspiration Martin turns to Stevie Wonder’s 1969 ‘My Cherie Amour’ he comes up with a stunning interpretation of this timeless tune. His handling of Sade’s ‘Nothing Can Come Between Us’ is sublime yet, in terms of re-imaginings, there is none better than Martin’s rendition of the Jennifer Hudson blockbuster ‘Spotlight’. With a vibe to die for this is right up there with the album’s best.