Quarterdays - Martinmas EP (2023)

Gavin Marwick & Phil Alexander

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MARTINMAS: Gavin Marwick & Phil Alexander

1: The Lantern Hora/ When Nights Are Lang and Mirk/ November Jig/ Martin Dessil/ The Geese and the Storm 

2: St Martin’s Summer/ The White Horse/ The Autumn Term/ Fill The Larder

3: Campion Vaughan

4: The Vintners 

5: Every Hog/ Armistice

6: Darkness Falls/ Sunwise/ Spirit Animal

All tracks composed by Gavin Marwick.



‘MARTINMAS, the fourth and final of the QUARTERDAYS releases, sees Gavin and Phil Alexander performing a series of fiddle and accordion or piano duets. Gavin and Phil, as well as playing together socially and professionally for years, are also two thirds of the excellent Firelight Trio, so there is a real deep musical connection.

MARTINMAS celebrates the life of St Martin of Tours. His birth place in Hungary, celebrated in the Eastern European lilt of “Every Hog / Armistice”. The second tune notes his feast of November 11th, now sadly resonant and marked if not celebrated for a very different reason.

The Lantern Hora” set, including five tunes spans from a slow opening fiddle and accordion dance with lots of atmosphere. Phil then flips to an increasingly jazzy, nimble piano behind Gavin’s bowing, raising the heat considerably. Its all joyful music for the feet, but the pairing of the piano and fiddle is particularly exciting. “St Martin’s Summer” begins with a slow pastoral piano and fiddle tune. The rhythmic pulse is strong, but the ripples of piano notes and the dancing fiddle are a triumph. Marwick’s tune “Campion Vaughan” has a little of eerie dissonance and ‘stops’ of the pipes in its sound and playing. Completely different to the previous tracks this is a very evocative and atmospheric piece. “The Vintners” has a very percussive accordion and fiddle dancing around the tune together with wonderfully wheezy low notes from Phil. “Every Hog / Armistice” has a touch of Eastern European folk or Klezmer in its playing and sound. “Darkness Falls / Sunwise / Spirit Animal” is a very descriptive or cinematic set. The first tune, slow as fading late is a nuanced delight with both instruments drawing pictures. The tempo increases with the fiddle dancing and driving the accordion on for the second tune. “Spirit Animal” with the fiddle like a darting bird, slows it down with the two musicians creating space around the notes, till they fade into the distance, a final farewell on the last tune on this final of four releases.

Again Gavin has created music that moves you, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally and sometimes both. Paired with Phil Alexander on accordion and piano Marwick’s final instalment in this engaging quartet manages both visceral folk and spiritual pastoral jazz.’- Marc Higgins