Originally released in 2004 ‘Secret Love' features Gareth Williams and Richard Rodney Bennett on piano, Laurence Cottle on bass, Clark Tracey on drums and Nigel Hitchcock on saxophone. Re-issued on CD in 2011 and in Studio Master quality in January 2007.
Claire explores the classic songbook with a mature set of standards from Irving Berlin's Cheek To Cheek to Bacharach and Costello's God Give Me Strength, taking in Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen along the way.
"Claire calls on her significant vocal range, and moves from breathy whispers to lungfulls of power in just a few bars." BBCi
Claire Martin - vocals
Gareth Williams - piano, electric piano, vibes, organ; Laurence Cottle - bass; Clark Tracey - drums; Nigel Htchcock - saxophone; Miles Bould - percussion; Richard Cottle - Organ; Julian Jackson - harmonica; Ian Shaw - backing vocals; Chris Dagley - drums; steve Watts - bass, Bobby Wellins - saxophone, Richard Rodney Bennett - piano
Recorded at Mark Angelo Studios - 6, 28 and 29 June 2004
Recording and Mix Engineer - John Gallen
Assistant Engineers - Kevan Gallagher and Tom Kelly
Mixed at Denham Sound Suite - 23-25 August 2004
Assisted by Amy Hudson and Joseph Cottle
SA-CD Mixing and Mastering by Ben Turner and Philip Hobbs
Mastered at Finesplice, UK
Thanks to Native Instruments
Clark Tracey uses Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Remo drum heads
Hair, make up and styling - Kate Hughes
Outside Photos by Katie Vandyck - photographed at Lewes Station
Live photo by Daniel Parker
Claire would like to say...
A huge thank you to Richard Cottle for all the faith, vibe and superb guidance and to John Gallen for generous assistance and expertise. Sincere appreciation to my exceptional band with special thanks to Laurence Cottle, Ian Shaw and Richard Rodney Bennett. Many thanks to Hugh Sandie, Amelia Sandie, Roger Wright, Keith Loxam, Jack Higgins, Barb Jungr, Mari Wilson, Tom Robbins and Verona Chard.
This album is dedicated in loving memory to Joel E. Siegel: My Buddy. “All the tender words together live on in my heart.”
When I hear Claire sing live, I know from the opening song that I’m in the company of an outstanding jazz singer. By the closing number, I’m always humbled. Praise enough that she’s a great jazz talent, but she’s much, much more. What a diva! Always charismatic and engaging, never failing to draw in the audience with inimitable ease, chatting and laughing, ribbing and jibing between each exquisitely delivered song. This album, Claire’s tenth album, is as captivating as any of her live performances. Ambitious yet intimate, fresh yet nostalgic, Secret Love is steeped in soul and originality. Her range is formidable: she gives Judy Garland a run for her money on the classic Get Happy; My Buddy is imbued with aching pathos and dedicated to her late, great friend Joel Siegel; and, in a thrilling version of Costello/Bacharach’s God Give Me Strength—briefly accompanied by co-conspirator Ian Shaw—Claire electrifies the track. Since Claire is always surrounded by the cream of musicians, it’s no surprise to discover Secret Love features some of the finest – Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Nigel Hitchcock, Gareth Williams, Laurence Cottle, Clark Tracey and Jim Mullen.
Racks in music shops may be crammed with albums by young, hyped female singers. To be fair, some are genuinely talented. But for my money, very few will ever sing with Claire’s power and style.
Jo Bloom, September 2004