On November 23, percussionist Billy Martin will release his solo percussion opus Black Elk Speaks through his own Amulet Records label. You can listen to some of the tracks and learn about the silk-screen printing process that took place: B l a c k E l k S p e a k s

photo by dino perrucci
Black Elk Speaks is based on the book of the same name, a self-told chronicle of the Oglala Sioux warrior and medicine man Black Elk. The collection of modern/avant-garde solo percussion compositions, recorded and produced by Martin, was inspired by Black Elk's spirit, visions, and stories. Said Martin about the inspiration of the project: "When I started reading the book, all my current solo work had fallen into place with the feeling I was getting from Black Elk's description of our world." All 22 tracks on Black Elk Speaks are solo performances by Martin, with the exception of "Stridulations," performed by the Komodo Whirligig Orchestra.

Black Elk Speaks will be a very limited edition release, with only 900 copies printed; each hand-numbered and signed by Billy Martin. The album will be available exclusively through, and at live performances by Martin's jazz trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Martin recorded the music on Black Elk Speaks over the course of several years and in various locations, including his own apartment and MMW's Brooklyn studio, Shacklyn. He utilized an eclectic variety of percussion instruments, including traditional drum kit, Chinese gongs, Japanese temple blocks, African mbiras, antique concert drums and Brazilian agogo bells.

For more Turntable Sessions Soundbites for your downloading pleasure, check here. It's the first of the weekly series at EXIT ART, NYC on July 11 with DJ Scotty Hard, Mike Ill, Dean Bowman, Billy Martin and Cyro Baptista. The soundbites should be up by Wednesday evening. Also check out the illy B Eats submissions that have been updated.

Billy Martin will also be appearing at local record shops during MMW's fall tour. Check out Amulet Records - News for details of the whereabouts.

Photo by Dino Perrucci |

[Published on: 11/21/01]

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