Alto saxophonist Martin Speake was born in 1958 in Barnet, England, where his childhood found him surrounded by music. He was drawn initially to the rock and pop music of the day, but shortly after he left school at the age of 16, Speake purchased an alto saxophone after hearing an album by Ornette Coleman, and the course of his life as a jazz horn player became set. He studied classical saxophone at Southgate Technical College and Trinity College of Music from 1977 to 1981, after which he began gigging with other musicians, most notably the sax quartet Itchy Fingers, who toured extensively in America, South America, and Africa. Speake left Itchy Fingers in 1988 and began concentrating on his own projects, many of which were carried out under the auspices of the Martin Speake Group. He also worked as part of duos with Phil Lee, Nikki Iles, Dharambir Singh, and others, as well as participating in the Fever Pitch, Mind and Time, and Eternal Triangle ensembles. His many albums and projects include Tan T'ien (1996), Trust (1998), Journey (2004), and Change of Heart, released in 2006 on ECM Records. ~ Steve Leggett
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