Equally at home behind the mixing desk, as well as behind a stack of keys or the mouthpiece of a saxophone, Terrace Martin has established himself as a rare talent in recent years.
Having cut his teeth producing for Snoop Dogg on his R&G and Ego Trippin’ albums, Martin has since worked with Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, and perhaps most notoriously on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly – taking a lead creative position in the project. With his influences spanning the jazz world as much as hip-hop, Martin has played a key role in the recent West Coast jazz resurgence, owing largely to the proliferation of noodling instrumental solos on Lamar’s TPAB, citing other players like Kamasi Washington, Thundercat and Robert Glasper as friends and frequent collaborators.
Putting this formidable network to good use then, Martin also creates his own music, releasing his first LP, The Demo, in 2010 and since going on to drop the G-Funk influenced 3ChordFold in 2013 and last year’s Velvet Portraits, which earned him a Grammy nomination in the R&B category. More twisted jazz-funk than R&B, Velvet Portraits, paid homage to Martin’s native Los Angeles, and especially the Crenshaw neighbourhood in his breezy take on Donny Hathaway’s ‘Valdez In The Country’, ‘Valdez Off Crenshaw’.
Martin’s latest record, Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 furthers this geographical connection and also marks the beginning of a new collaborative project, The Pollyseeds. Comprised of a litany of the finest producers and musicians LA has to offer, including the aforementioned Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, as well as Snarky Puppy drummer Robert ‘Sput’ Searlight, Missy Elliott producer Craig Brockman, and singer-songwriter Rose Gold, The Pollyseeds embodies the creative confidence of a live jam session, helmed by Martin himself. Opening with the gentle Rhodes funk of ‘Chef E Dubble’, the listener is in familiar territory, channelling the synthesised saxophone lines and spacious production of Velvet Portraits numbers like ‘Curly Martin’ and ‘Think Of You’.
Read the rest of the review in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 02/08/17]