Making beautiful music together
Guitar and saxophone duo Allison Scull and Victor Martin steep their melodies and lyrics in roots blues, R&B and an array of other musical genres.
Scull was born in Florida but grew up in Belgium — where she learned to speak, read and write French — and Southern California as the U.S. Navy transferred her father from base to base.
She learned guitar while in high school in the coastal community of La Jolla and after graduation attended San Diego School of Performing Arts.
“I played folk music in my early 20s and started performing at open mics in San Diego,” Scull says.
It wasn’t long before she was writing her own songs.
“I wasn’t trying to sound like a folk artist, but I was working out some chord progressions that you could call folk,” she adds.
Martin grew up in Delaware where listening to church choirs inspired his desire to make music.
“In my teenage years, there was always a tune playing at home, on the radio or record player,” he says. “Music was always an important part of my life.”
Martin played sax in his middle-school band, and by the time he reached ninth grade was playing in ensembles and with a sax quartet.
“I played mostly R&B and soul, but eventually jazz became my main focus,” he says.
After high school, he attended the Music School of Delaware in Wilmington. Later he joined the U.S. Army and toured bases with a small Army band. After his stint in the military, he played in R&B bands but would go to after-hours jazz jam sessions where he learned techniques from older musicians.
“The influx of so many different styles is what sets our music apart,” he says.
Scull and Martin are set to perform from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Dancin Vineyards, 4477 South Stage Road, Medford. Admission is free.
The duo will perform again on Thursday, June 14, at Dancin, then again the second Friday of each month at the winery: July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 7 and Oct. 12.
During the latter part of the ’90s, Scull lived in Ashland and performed solo shows at various venues in the Rogue Valley, Northern California and the south coast.
“I played a show in Dunsmuir, and that’s where Victor introduced himself to me and told me he played sax,” she says. “We talked about our different styles but discovered that we had some things in common musically.”
Shortly after meeting Martin, Scull began work on her first CD, “Allison St.,” and a friend suggested she include saxophone on one of the songs. She invited Martin to fuse his warm jazzy sax sounds into her folksy guitar tune. “Allison St.” released in 1998.
Thus began a musical collaboration and a romantic relationship. The couple’s love for music — and each other — has kept them happily together. Since 2002, they’ve lived in Dunsmuir and performed in regional venues.
In the years that Scull and Martin have composed melodies and performed together, their music has grown. Now European and Latin sounds drift into their fusion of folk, jazz and blues, and Scull sings some of her own compositions in French.
“We play mostly original songs, and at our upcoming performance at Dancin Vineyards we will perform music that will appear on a new CD we will release later this year,” Martin says.
Martin always wants the audience to enjoy the relaxing groove of the music.
“Our songs have positive messages,” he says. “We sing about peace and unity. The words and music usually make people feel good.”
“We have a wide mix in our audiences — people that are on opposite sides of a lot of issues,” Allison says. “But when they listen to our music, they are at ease. A lot of our songs are about nature and finding places where we can celebrate the things that we have in common, where we can just be at peace with one another and focus on our commonality instead of issues that divide us.”
See allisonandvictor.com for more information.