Barre was the guitarist for rock band Jethro Tull, starting with the band’s second album in 1969. Barre once said that he tried not to listen to other guitarists so that he would not be influenced by them. He said he never took guitar lessons so that he would not sound like other players. He has also played the flute, both on-stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.
Martin studied architecture for three years, not finishing his studies due to failing in Spanish and Atomic Science, two subjects Martin thought “had little to do with designing buildings”. After doing one job in the area, Martin found being an architect was a “boring career”, opting for music instead.
On the first album that Barre recorded with Jethro Tull, Stand Up, he said that he was: “terrified because I had just joined the band. It really showed a change in direction for the band and when it was accepted and became a successful album, we gained a lot of confidence. We extended that confidence into the making of Benefit, in which we were a lot more at ease”. On the next album, the world success Aqualung, Martin was more confident, stating that in the recording: “Everybody [the band] had input into the making of the album”.
In the following period, his solos blended virtuosity with classical music, like on Minstrel in the Gallery, where the opening track has a four-minute solo, or his piece (shared with Barrie Barlow) “Conundrum” and “Quatrain” in Bursting Out. Martin declared that much of the material from Jethro Tull catalogue was written by himself and Ian Anderson, with Ian getting the credit for writing the lyrics and having the initial idea for the music, which: “then I, or someone else in the band, contribute parts to it”. One album he is credited for having put “aditional material” is the classic Songs From The Wood. Curiously, his favourite album in Jethro Tull is the most controversial of the band’s career, Under Wraps, which contains two tracks co-authored by him. On his work with Jethro Tull, Martin also stated: “I’m quite pleased with my playing on Crest of a Knave, which was basically me, Ian and [bassist] Dave Pegg working in the studio for two months, so I had ample time to put a lot of myself into that album”. He is credited in only another two tracks of Jethro Tull albums: “Hot Mango Flush”, from J-Tull Dot Com and “Winter Snowscape” from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.
On one track of 1994’s A Trick of Memory, Barre plays a guitar given to him by friend Mark Mancina. In the album, King Crimson alumnus Mel Collins blows the sax, and Fairport Convention’s Martin Allcock and Ric Sanders appear on a couple of tracks, and Andy Giddings completes it with Hammond organs. According to the AllMusic review: “the dominant sound is Barre’s guitars, soaring, crunching, grinding, or noodling gently, either blues or English folk tunes”, to the reviewer, the album is “a decent debut album”. “A Summer Band” was released only in limited edition.
In 2003 on his album Stage Left, Barre used an unusual electric guitar style shaped by folk/acoustic and hard rock elements. It was his first album to be released in the United States. In the album, Martin shows his style of playing with “tricky and complicated” melodies, being always “elegant, even when he’s rocking hard”.
In 2014, Martin announced that he is going to tour as an acoustic quartet (including Dan Crisp and Alan Bray) to promote Away With Words, which already was well received by the Prog Magazine, saying that in the album: “Barre has taken an imaginative approach to his own past by readdressing many of his favourite, often more obscure, nuggets from lull’s [sic] vast cache, chiefly on acoustic guitar”. Still in 2014, a new album was announced to be released in September, called Order of Play.
His best-known guitar work includes “Aqualung”, “Cross-Eyed Mary”, and “Locomotive Breath”. Barre’s signature solo on the 1971 Jethro Tull standard “Aqualung” was voted by the readers of Guitar Player magazine as one of the top rock guitar solos of all time. Also, in 2007, this solo was rated one of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos by Guitar World magazine. Still on Aqualung, Martin earned the 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK.
Dire Straits’ leader Mark Knopfler, in a 2005 interview, called Barre’s work with Ian Anderson “magical”.
Joe Bonamassa includes Martin Barre as a direct influence, especially in the blues playing of the early albums. Other guitarists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson also include Martin Barre as their influence. (by wikipedia)
This is the first official recording from Martin Barre, famous guitarist from Jethro Tull.
A compilation of live recordings from 1992, with a selection of classic blues, in great performances.
This was a limited edition, of just 1000 CDs and Cassettes, released by A New Day fanzine, through the Presshouse label, and was sold only for the subscribers of the fanzine.
I include the official _Souvenir Program from the “Jethro Tull Convention Festival” in 1992 … Listen and enjoy the other side of Martin Barre !
11 July 1992 at “The Summer Party” somewhere in Devon,
15 July 1992 at Verbeer Manor, Collumpton,
16 July 1992 at the Exeter Arts Centre,
18 July 1992 at the “Jethro Tull Convention” Milton Keynes.
Martin Barre (guitar)
Rob Darnell (percussion, harmonica, vocals)
Tom Glendinning (drums)
Craig Milverton (keyboards)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Maggie Reeday (vocals)
Joy Russell (lead vocals)
Mark Tucker (electric guitar)
01. Ain’t That Peculiar (Holland/Whitfield) 3.49
02. Too Tired (Watson/Davis/Bihari) 3.09
03. Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell) 3.05
04. One Love (Bett/Carpenter) 5.45
05. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.56
06. Cold Feet (King) 2.22
07. Better Lying Down (Slick) 3.59
08. I Shot The Sheriff (Marley) 3.29
09. Barefootin’ (Parker) 3.21
10. Mustang Sally (Pickett) 4.30
11. Nutbush City Limits (Turner) 2.52
12. Faith Healer (Harvey/McKenna) 5.52