Allison & Victor
Story: Jim Dyar
Photos: Kara Stewart
THE TRANQUIL VIBES OF ALLISON AND VICTOR
Allison Scull and Victor Martin are seated
at a table near the spot where they typically
perform at the Post Office Saloon in
downtown Redding. On this afternoon,
however, there’s not a guitar or saxophone in sight.
No microphones are set up to welcome
the duo into their usual position.
Still, bar patrons know who they are.
“They’re adored here in the North
State,” says Reggie Bordsen with a tone that
indicates that he means business. “Everybody
loves them. They really do.”
Bordsen raves on about Martin’s sax
playing, and calls Scull’s voice “angelic.”
Martin makes a wisecrack about paying
off fans to say the right things at the right
moments, then lets loose with a booming
infectious laugh. Just a bit later, another
musician walks into the pub and beams upon
seeing Martin and Scull. He hurries over for a
hug and pleasantries.
Martin and Scull tend to have this effect
on people. The same scene could have
unfolded in a lot of places they perform –
Napa, Weaverville, Grants Pass, Ore., Mount
Known (and booked) as simply “Allison
and Victor,” the duo has performed
consistently across the region since 2002.
They’ve played a vast array of venues and
events, from club shows to private parties
to winery open houses and everything else
you can think of. They’ve graced the stage
of the Cascade Theatre (opening for the
Blind Boys of Alabama), and performed in
an expanded format in August at the Trinity
Alps Performing Arts Center.
Their sound blends elements of folk, jazz,
blues, European and Latin music, all of
which translates into a laid-back, tranquil
vibe that tends to put people at ease.
“If you’re putting your heart and soul into
it, I think audiences pick up on that,” says
Martin. “When we look up and see people
smiling and having a good time, it’s feels like
we’re doing our part to bring a little peace
into the world. Live music is such a powerful
healing force. It’s medicine.”
December saw the duo release a new
album, “Cool Like the Breeze,” which
features six songs written by Scull (including
the title track), one by Martin, and two
others. The album was recorded by Ron
Davis (sound engineer for the Monterey
Jazz Festival) at his Wing and a Prayer
Production studio in Central Point, Ore.
Martin arranged all of the tunes and
the album features a variety of musicians,
including pianist Grant Levin, drummer
Tom Stamper, bassists Bill Vallaire and Glenn
Richman and percussionist Theresa McCoy.
“We’re excited to get the CD out and
share it with the world,” says Scull. “We were
able to get the fuller sound we were after
with a very talented crew of musicians and an
excellent recording engineer.”
Adds Martin: “We worked hard to expand
the sound, but keep the integrity we started
with. We broadened the scope. It’s richer and
A native of Delaware, Martin began
playing saxophone in junior high and
continued his studies through college at
the Wilmington School of Music. After
joining the Army, he toured in a rock band
while stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash. Over
the years, he’s performed with the likes of
Grammy-winner Joe Henderson, Kitty
Margolis and Curtis Salgado.
Scull, a twin, came from a Navy family and
spent her childhood living in either Belgium
or La Jolla, Calif. A choir class at the San
Diego School of Performing Arts helped
spur her passion for music.
In 1998, Martin saw Scull performing her
original tunes at the Nutglade Station in
Dunsmuir and was impressed. Later, Scull
asked Martin to play on her 1998 solo CD,
It wasn’t long before they began performing
together, with Scull’s songwriting and
acoustic guitar style making for a cohesive fit
with Martin’s jazz sensibilities. Martin also
sings harmony and lead on some tunes, and
“The cool thing about Vic is he’s openminded
enough to think of a singersongwriter
as a choice to do music with,”
Scull says. “We have so much fun when we
play. We love the audience interaction. Each
night, the energy of the crowd makes for a
In addition to the new album (available
at live shows and on their website –
allisonandvictor.com), the duo has also
released “Allison Scull and Victor Martin
Live” (2006) and “From the Back Burner”
(2002). They’ve shared the stage with the
likes of Craig Chaquico, Shana Morrison,
Archie Lee Hooker, Kelly Joe Phelps and
blues legend John Hammond.
When Scull and Martin travel to perform,
they often stay with fans who have grown
into close friends over the years. It’s a
continuation of the afternoon experience at
the Post Office Saloon.
“When we’re on the road, we feel little
bits of home,” Scull says. “We’ve built these
little networks with people, and these people
pretty much make it possible for us to do
“You find out that a lot of people out there
in the world are good,” adds Martin.
Or, perhaps it’s Martin and Scull who
continually bring out the good in people.
Either way, it continues to be a sweet sound.•
Catch their CD release party on
Friday, January 29th,
at Vintage Wine Bar,
1790 Market St. Redding, CA
and see them again at Vintage on Valentine's Day.
Sunday, February 14th.