'The most gifted jazz singer this country has produced in 20 years...' Sunday Times
'…beautifully delivered with trademark cool-school virtuosity by Martin.' Metro
'Claire Martin has always been a talented and exciting singer, but with this album, she gives evidence of both maturity and being at one with her art.' Jazzwise
'…a consummate jazz singer with old-school virtues.' The Guardian
'Martin's dark, velvety voice navigates each harmonic twist, with acerbic words to the wise and poignantly personal tales.' Time Out
The original and contemporary songs on A Modern Art are presented with a cool-edge, tinged with a touch of irony and razor-sharp wit. A Modern Art is inspired by the tragic death of pioneering jazz musician Esbjörn Svensson, who Claire pays tribute to with a heartfelt rendition of 'Love Is Real'
A Modern Art features songs by the 21st century's finest writers; Michael Franks, Donald Fagen, Cy Coleman, Rogers & Hart and Rebekka Bakken. Mark Winkler has contributed lyrics to a great Joshua Redman melody on the track 'lowercase' and 'As We Live and Breathe' is by the New York Voices' vocalist Lauren Kinhan.
Claire Martin successfully creates 'new' jazz classics as she tackles the thorny subject of jazz as a contemporary art form – one routed in tradition but as relevant and vibrant as ever.
Why A Modern Art?
On my last recording I explored the repertoire of the great Shirley Horn to pay my own personal tribute. This time I was keen to record a selection of new material, songs which I feel define me as an individual, and as a jazz singer in the 21st century.
I have always chosen to sing contemporary material from "outside" the Great American Songbook, alongside lesser-known standards and original compositions. In doing so I have strived to find new songs that can stand alongside the classics we associate with the greats including Ella, Sarah, Betty and Carmen.
Only two of the songs on this album are by classic composers: Cy Coleman's ‘Everybody Today Is Turning On' and Rodgers & Hart's ‘Everything I've Got Belongs To You'. Elsewhere, I have chosen songs from some of my favourite writers: Michael Franks, Donald Fagen and Rebekka Bakken. Mark Winkler has contributed lyrics to a great Joshua Redman melody; lyricist Colin Lazzerini has introduced me to two songs I'm proud to have recorded, and the heartfelt ‘As We Live and Breathe' is by my friend, and New York Voices' vocalist, Lauren Kinhan. I was really saddened by the untimely death of Esbjörn Svensson. His beautiful ballad ‘Love Is Real', co-written with Josh Hayden, is a song I recently discovered and I hope makes a fitting tribute to a much-missed musician.
The title song ‘A Modern Art' was written by me with Laurence Cottle and it's my own take on celebrity culture and the mass dumbing-down of musical standards in popular music. Jazz remains as vibrant and relevant as ever and can indeed gain a mass appeal - I'm sure of it! In fact, I'm on a mission, and if you're reading this you've already helped my cause! Please spread the word that jazz isn't an inaccessible art form that is too difficult to understand, nor do you have to wear an anorak and listen to trad in some muddy field in unforgiving British weather. Jazz is a thoroughly Modern Art form and this is my version!
I hope you'll enjoy this album. Claire Martin
Claire Martin - vocals
Gareth Williams - piano
Laurence Cottle - bass
Nigel Hitchcock - alto sax
Mark Nightingale - trombone
Phil Robson - guitar
James Maddren - drums
Chris Dagley - drums
Sola Akingbola - percussion
Recorded at Phoenix Sound, Iver Heath, Bucks from 10-12th March 2009
Produced by Laurence Cottle
Thanks to Peter and Toby for their help in the studio
Engineered and mixed by Calum Malcolm
Surround mixing and mastering by Philip Hobbs and Julia Thomas at Finesplice, UK
Photography and design by John Haxby
Background painting by Amelia Sandie
Hair and make-up by Rebecca Parker
Clothes by Vivienne Westwood
Claire Martin appointed an O.B.E.
13 June 2011
Birthday Honours List accolademore >>Linn artists listed in 1001 Best Albums
15 December 2010
in the latest ‘Penguin Guide to Jazz’more >>Claire Martin performs intimate gig in St Petersburg
16 November 2010
...a look behind the scenesmore >>Claire Martin at the CBSO Centre
07 October 2010
singer set to wow Birmingham on 5th Novembermore >>Claire Martin live at London’s spectacular Bloomsbury Ballroom
01 September 2010
Don't miss this fantastic concert!more >>Claire Martin on jamming, John Martyn and her unusual choice of repertoire
14 June 2010
From covering Status Quo to chatting to Paul McCartney, Claire talks about her varied career...more >>Record Collector's 'Best of 2009' announced
17 December 2009
Shock! and A Modern Art amongst top releasesmore >>Success at the British Jazz Awards 2009!
18 November 2009
Claire Martin triumphs as Best Vocalistmore >>Claire Martin on 'A Modern Art'
05 October 2009
Claire talks jazz and "celebrititis" with Jane Garvey on Woman's Hourmore >>Claire Martin Live in the UK
09 September 2009
Book now to see Claire Martin livemore >>Claire Martin talks to Jazzwise
21 August 2009
...about "A Modern Art"more >>Claire Martin news from the studio
15 April 2009
"A Modern Art" previewmore >>
The Jazz Breakfast
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"A life-affirming evening of sophisticated modern art."more >>Jazz Times
You'll be hard pressed to do better than her latest releasemore >>Jazz Magazine
'La Londonienne Claire Martin fait l'unanimité des amateurs de jazz vocal de les plus tâtillons...'more >>Music-Web International
"...an interesting digression in her musical journey."more >>The Jazz Rag
Claire "at her most expressive"more >>allaboutjazz.com
"A Modern Art is a gem."more >>hifi.nl
"Fijne jazz met gelukkig een audiofiele tint! Een aanrader, nee, verplichte kost voor liefhebbers!"more >>Audio Video Club of Atlanta
"...this time it's personal..."more >>Audiophile Audition
"...very highly recommended!"more >>In Tune International
"...assured, imaginative and irresistible..."more >>allgigs.co.uk
"The verdict? Super collection."more >>thejazzmann.com
"'A Modern Art' might just be her best album yet."more >>Jazz Journal
"lovers of superior jazz singing should acquire without delay."more >>The Vortex
"Quite simply a cracker of an album."more >>SoundStage.com
"In every song you can hear the singer's joy of creation and delight in performance."more >>Mojo
"...there’s no way she could come up with anything less than quality"more >>The Observer
"Her warm, natural style is complemented by the cream of today's British jazz scene."more >>muszeroldal.hu
"Claire Martin a BBC/British Jazz Awards ötszörös gyoztese..."more >>Record Collector (Easy Listening)
"An album that keep you on your toes."more >>Record Collector
"[Claire Martin's] in scintillating form..."more >>BBC Music Magazine
"Martin's delivery is artful across the genres."more >>The Times
"...utterly assured."more >>UKVibe.org
"'A Modern Art' seems set to be her most [album] successful to date."more >>The Jazz Breakfast
"This is, I think, the best one yet."more >>Soul and Jazz and Funk
"an intriguing mix of brand new material"more >>Scotland on Sunday
"Her eight-piece band is funky and certainly swings."more >>Sunday Times
"The most gifted jazz singer this country has produced in 20 years..."more >>The Guardian
a consummate jazz singer with old-school virtuesmore >>Time Out
... her finest album to datemore >>The Scotsman
"...she is still a cut above the competition..."more >>BBC online
Claire's voice starts silky and breathy and expands to gospel proportionsmore >>Northern Echo (Jazz Notes)
"...must go straight into the best of 2009 list. It is a stunning tribute to an outstanding jazz singer..."more >>London Evening Standard
Claire Martin always delivers the goodsmore >>Irish Times
"Claire Martin has such class and authority..."more >>Venue Magazine
"Few vocalists have managed the unbroken success of Claire Martin..."more >>Greater Manchester City Life
"the singer herself is the incarnation of sass and vivacity"more >>Metro
"beautifully delivered with trademark cool-school virtuosity by Martin."more >>Jazzwise
"Claire Martin is really very good"more >>EDP24
There are singers - and then there are singersmore >>