Allison Scull & Victor Martin | From the Back Burner

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Folk: Folk Pop Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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From the Back Burner

by Allison Scull & Victor Martin

An overall sound that blends a mellow guitar groove, warm vocals and lyrical sax licks in original material. Food for the soul.
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Holiday at Home
5:34 $0.99
2. Indian J.D.
6:22 $0.99
3. Patrick's Song
5:20 $0.99
4. Something Greater
6:01 $0.99
5. Sugar Mama
6:48 $0.99
6. Angel from Montgomery
3:36 $0.99
7. That's not Love
4:24 $0.99
8. Don't Explain
4:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
CD Design: ZAN Design,

Check "LIVE SHOW SCHEDULE" (530) 235-2809 for booking.

A review of one of Allison and Victor's performances can be found on

Allison Scull and Victor Martin have come from two different spectrums, folk and jazz , to create music that crosses the boundaries of age, gender, and culture. Some call it jazz, others call it folk, folk-jazz and one listener even characterized their music as "Saxofolk." Whatever you want to call it, they are blazing their own trail reaching wider audiences as they tour around the country.

One of twins, Allison Scull was raised in Belgium and La Jolla, California. She found her musical future in a choir class at the San Diego School of Performing Arts. The release of "Allison St," her first CD, was the culmination of a lifelong dream to create and publish her own style of music. This album is characterized as having neo-folk sound, with some Latin overtones and a hint of jazz. Combining French and English lyrics, a wide range in vocals and unexpected changes in the music, the album was a success. Scull toured all over California and Oregon as a solo act.

Martin saw Scull performing in 1998 and immediately liked her style. Sharing a love of jazz, it was inevitable that Scull would ask Martin to perform background sax on her CD, and he adds his own arms tones and lyrical phrasings to "Mirror Me, Mirror You" on "Allison St.". The duo began to perform together as often as their schedules will allow.

Victor Martin was born and raised on the East Coast, but has lived in the Mount Shasta area for several years. He was introduced to the saxophone in junior high school, beginning a love affair that carried him to the Wilmington School of Music in Delaware and from there to the Army, where he played and toured with the 9th Infantry Rock Band while stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington. Martin's sound is satisfying, and he is willing to break the barriers and go beyond to take the sound to its fullest. Martin has performed with Grammy Award-winner Joe Henderson, as well as Michael Schrives, Kitty Margolis, Curtis Salgado and a host of other musicians. While versatile in his playing, Martin's first love is jazz, but he also performs with Sound Advice, a rhythm 'n blues band whose original music can be found on a CD entitled "Mind Over Matter."

"From the Back Burner" highlights Martin and Scull's collaborative efforts. Together they have shared the stage with Tuck and Patti, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Craig Chaquico, Shana Morrison, Archie Lee Hooker, Kelly Joe Phelps, and for John Hammond. They continue touring the West Coast, progressively making their way from the West Coast to the East Coast. Allison and Victor have also just released a new live recording.

by John Aiello
Interview published Fall, 2001 of The American Muse

Allison Scull of Dunsmuir (an old railroad town at the upper arm of the Sacramento River Canyon) has been singing since she was a small child.

One listen to her debut CD, ALLISON ST and you'll come to understand why. The songs on ALLISON ST were written during an eight year span beginning in 1990 and recorded in Ashland, Oregon in 1998. ALLISON ST, named after an actual street in Ashland where Scull went to college, is comprised of 10 songs - and are absolute gems. By combining different instruments (bouzooki, dhotar, congas, ragtime banjo, saxophone), Scull has built a bridge between traditional acoustic music, light rock and
jazz. And the results are truly startling. The music, skillfully guided by Scull's deft and delicate voice, calls to mind the young Mary Travers.

There are many highlights on ALLISON ST including the contemplative "My Room," and the hauntingly beautiful "La Seine" (the lines of this piece unfold across invisible waters at dawn as the love-torn narrator walks along a river in France). The centerpiece of ALLISON ST however, is "Sips of Coffee," a short and simple poem delivered alternately in English art French as the bouzooki (a Greek mandolin) mixes perfectly with Scull's guitar to fill in those soft spaces that linger between silence and words.

JA: Describe your training and background.
AS: I have degrees in Speech Therapy from the University of Oregon in Eugene and Broadcast Communications from Southern Oregon University in Ashland. I've had some private voice lessons (for a short time I actually studied under Kevyn Lettau, who is highlyregarded in Japan and Europe), but mostly I'm a self-taught musician. When I was young I initially thought of being an actress, but my love of music overtook that. I started writing songs when I was in my 20s, and I've never stopped.

JA: There seems to be this unidentified loneliness to some of your songs..

AS: Yes, I guess that's true. I wrote "My Guitar" while I was stuck in a motel room during a snowstorm in Bend, Oregon. I was alone in my room, staring at this new Martin guitar I had just bought, and I decided to give the guitar a voice and write a song around it. It's half tongue-in-cheek, and half serious, I wrote "Weeping Willow" much the same way, sitting alone near a lake and looking for a way to build some distance between myself and the world.

JA: Who are your musical influences?

AS: Billie Holiday, she's just tremendous, it's like she has a smile in her vocal cords. I also like Joni Mitchell and Etta James. I also have a lot of respect for Astrud Gilberto, and I've tried to put those Latin-based rhythms in some of my new recordings.

JA: And your writing influences?

AS: I like Charles Dickens work very much. Alice Walker and Emily Dickinson as well. I'm looking for that story-telling element, something I can extend to my songs.

JA: Writing music and performing and trying to sell yourself on this level is a difficult way to live - why do you want to do it?

AS: Music is medicine to me. It offers a place to go inside myself and helps me to sort through the crises in life. Music is the pursuit of being true to one's self - that's how I see it anyway.

JA: What direction do you see your music going in now?

As: I definitely see myself doing more with Victor (Martin), who plays saxophone on the CD. We're doing rhythm-oriented music, crossing over traditional acoustic with jazz. But really, for me, it's all about living the undivided life-to keep doing what I love. Which is playing
music and writing songs.

When Victor Martin began playing music as a youngster, he originally passed up the saxophone "because it had too many keys." He chose the trumpet instead (it only has three keys), but soon found himself unable to play it. Discouraged, intent on giving up the study of music altogether, Victor was handed a saxophone by his mother who demanded he stay in the school band. Thirty-five years later, Martin has become one of the most accomplished horn players in Northern California.

Martin, 46, is featured on ALLISON ST and has been playing with Scull for almost 3 years. Tall and muscular, he blends the physical stature of King Curtis with the range of the late great session man Steve Douglas.

Aside from playing with Scull, Martin contributes regularly to the Mount Shasta R&B band "Sound Advice." He also played alongside Grammy award winning saxophonist Joe Henderson at the Sacramento River Jazz Festival
in 1992, a concert he regards as a high-point in his career.

This interview took place in Mount Shasta, California on June 7, 2001.

JA: You?ve been playing with Allison for 3 years?

VM: Yes, about 3 years. We met after one of her coffee house shows in Dunsmuir and began sharing ideas about music. Eventually, she asked me to play horn on one of her songs, and we slowly began to merge my jazz background with her folk background. I think we?ve come up with
something new. What we do is truly a magical exchange. It's warm and soothing, and the response from the audience tells us we're right on
with what we're doing.

JA: Don't you find it strange trying to play saxophone around folk music?

VM: Playing with Allison frees me up to follow the story she's telling. I'm like a painter painting around the music with my sax. That's the ultimate job of any background music - to fill in the "spaces" - to go
as deep as you can and become a part of the story that's being told.

JA: Who are your influences?

VM: I like Lester Young. I admire the bond he had with Billie Holiday and the way he played with her. I think Allison and I are approaching that. I like Charlie Parker, of course. And Miles Davis. I listen to Davis'record 'Kind of Blue? almost every day. His spacing on that record is amazing. My father had a huge collection of music, and I was exposed to a lot of different things as a kid - he had everything from Chuck Berry to Ella Fitzgerald. And that was a bit intimidating, trying to live up to the depth of what I was hearing.

JA: What do you want to accomplish with your music?

VM: Just to touch people, and open up some social doors. I've met a lot of people through playing music, and I hope I can bring people together when I play. But it's tough. I feel like we're breaking new ground, but
it?s tough doing it all, marketing yourself and booking shows. Plus I work full-time (Martin is employed as a social worker with the developmentally disabled). There's so much to do every day, we can't really write any new material. and that gets frustrating. Optimally, I'd like to make enough money playing to be a full-time musician. That's what we're working towards.

First Impression
May 24, 2001, 11 pm:

Late evening now (fingers of fog roll across the
sky (swallow) the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge (whole) in one bite. Allison St. is still playing in the background (moving) through invisible storms beyond the hollow edges of earthly space. The first
time I've sat down all day, and I'm writing these lines:

The Mystery
Of music -
Mercy soft
To blue
and cool
Angelic voice;
And the
Thirsty eyes
Of cougars
Are prowling
The moonlight;

The echo moves:

Soft on tiny
Cat feet
Of fog
Though Heaven-

by John Aiello




to write a review

Katie Darden - Making Your Mark @

Lovely Album, Lovely Folks!!
After hearing Allison and Victor live at a local patio venue, I had to buy the CD. It's like taking them home with me to hear the songs again...they have a lovely, lyrical, soft jazz style that makes it so very easy to listen to - over and over again. My saxophone playing grandson will be delighted, too!

Al Case

music to melt your soul
Really, really great stuff. I can listen to From the Back Burner or Allison St. continuously and never grow tired. It's how music should be done.

Rose Cassano

This is an awesome CD, Allisons' vocals and Victors' sax simply fantastic!
This is an awesome CD, Allisons' vocals and Victors' sax ...a beautiful blend of folk and jazz. I was fortunate to catch them opening for John Hammond and they blew the audience away.

Ethan Fischer, Poet, \"Beached in the Hourglass\"

Love the CD
Love the CD, which I play over & over!
It's on my front burner--sort of better
than Getz & Gilberto or Sade or any of
that--touches of Coltrane & shooting
stars that seem new.

The G-Man, Immedia Wire Service

A lovely album
Beautiful! The music is magical, the voices sublime, and the sax is sugary,feathery, and sometimes delightfully growly.

Chico News and Review

A nice laid-back CD featuring jazzy , folky tunes
Mt.Shasta-area musicians Allison Scull and Victor Martin have produced a nice little laid-back CD featuring jazzy, folky tunes. Most of the pieces are original, the exceptions being Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" and John's Prine's "Angel from Montgomery." Scull plays guitar with rhythmic surety, and her voice is a solid alto with which she demonstrates a pleasant playfulness on the melodies...
Martin's saxophone delivers nice warm phrases, and his harmony vocals add much depth to most of the pieces.

Angela Bull "Clearlii"

Sunday Drive Time Music
I love this CD...It's mellow, charming and a little quirky...I highly recommend it for the music lover that likes to have a little bit of homespun acoustic sweetness on the shelf.

BoomBaBoom Chick-a-Boom

Better and Better
The only thing more magical than listening to Allison & Victor's Back Burner CD is hearing them live in an intimate setting. Allison's lyrics meld with the slow smokey horn and shimmer like the tiny beads of sweat on Victor's brow. The real deal, simple, rich, and pure.

Barbara Paul

Comfort Food to listen to
From the Back Burner, by Allison Scull and Victor Martin is like Comfort Food, It warms your soul.

Mark Foster, Livermore, CA

Allison's voice is like chocolate and silk...and Victor is incredible on the saxophone!