Project Description


Basho Records

Martin Speake – Alto Sax

Nikki Iles – Piano

Duncan Hopkins – Bass

Anthony Michelli – Drums.


Track Listing
No Title Duration
1 Secret Place – Iles 5.12
2 Veils – Iles 3.40
3 The Heron – Speake 6.46
4 Oncology – Hopkins 6.19
5 J.T.’s Symmetrical Scale – Speake 5.09
6 The Thrill Is Gone – Henderson (arranger Speake) 8.13
7 Westerly – Iles 5.31
8 Coventry – Hopkins 5.08
9 So To Speake – Iles 1.53
10 Fly’s Dilemma – Iles 5.25
11 Nikki – Speake 5.14
12 Secret Wood – Speake 8.02
13 Willow (for Mick Hutton) – Speake 6.52
14 Luiza – Jobim 4.43


02/12/2002 Michael Tucker. Jazz Journal
” An album equally strong on melody and harmony, rhythmic intricacies and broadly phrased beautifully “breathing” passages…..spacious cross-rhythms and purposive drive, distilled reflection and cooking swing distinguish this excellent, superbly recorded release.”


01/10/2002 Phil Ehrensaft – The Whole Note, Canada
“Martin Speake plays some of the most gorgeous alto sax sounds in contemporary jazz…What is most impressive about the album is how four members of this brand new partnership are so finely attuned to each other’s musical minds and nimble fingers.”


13/04/2002 Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post 13th April 2002
“Secret is an album of jazz of a very high order from a group that puts to shame many much-hyped American bands.”


01/03/2002 Dave Gelly, The Observer
“…such an assured, absorbing set of music that it compels the listener whatever the tempo..” Chris Sheridan, Jazz Review – April 2002 “..modest little gem of intelligent but highly approachable small-band music.”


08/02/2002 John Fordham, The Guardian
“When four jazz musicians manage to record almost 80 minutes of memorable music in five hours straight, it’s likely that magic was in the air. This set was put together in October 2000 at the end of a UK tour for the quartet led by alto saxophonist Martin Speake and pianist Nikki Iles, and it has precisely the open fluency you might expect when four sophisticated improvisers have had plenty of chances to figure out how their partners tick. Speake, the UK’s Lee Konitz in his bop-rooted expressiveness, and the formidably creative Iles are joined by Canadians Duncan Hopkins on bass and Anthony Michelli on drums. Most of the compositions are originals, with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Luiza and the standard The Thrill Is Gone, on which Speake plays with a resigned spaciousness and haunting evocativeness of tone. But for all its coolness, this set doesn’t lack strength or vigour – as you can hear on Hopkins’ cool-boppish Oncology and on Iles’s cop-show groover Fly’s Dilemma. Not music to blow you out of your socks, nor intended to – but very intelligent, sharp and very musical”.

Project Details