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Witchcraft

Claire Martin

Witchcraft

...charismatic and passionate, yet stunningly elegant
AKD 359 (Linn Records)
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Compact Disc

$22.00

Studio Master (192)

FLAC 24bit 192kHz 1,608.9MB $24.00

Studio Master (192)

ALAC 24bit 192kHz 1,696.1MB $24.00

Studio Master

FLAC 24bit 88.2kHz 737.5MB $24.00

Studio Master

ALAC 24bit 88.2kHz 790.2MB $24.00

CD Quality

FLAC 16bit 44.1kHz 203.4MB $13.00

CD Quality

ALAC 16bit 44.1kHz 207.6MB $13.00

MP3

MP3 320k 44.1kHz 98.4MB $11.00
Prices shown in US Dollars



Listen

Tracks: Listen and Download

Format
Track Time Listen
1
I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life

I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life

Composer

Cy Coleman & Joseph Allan McCarthy

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
04:01 Play $1.70
2
The Best Is Yet To Come

The Best Is Yet To Come

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:54 Play $1.70
3
The Rules Of The Road

The Rules Of The Road

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
01:57 Play $1.70
4
On Second Thought

On Second Thought

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
03:16 Play $1.70
5
Ev’rybody Today Is Turning On

Ev’rybody Today Is Turning On

Composer

Cy Coleman & Michael Mike Stewart

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:43 Play $1.70
6
Sometime When You’re Lonely

Sometime When You’re Lonely

Composer

Cy Coleman

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:49 Play $1.70
7
Let Me Down Easy

Let Me Down Easy

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
03:48 Play $1.70
8
Nobody Does It Like Me

Nobody Does It Like Me

Composer

Cy Coleman & Dorothy Fields

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
03:27 Play $1.70
9
That’s My Style

That’s My Style

Composer

Cy Coleman & Peggy Lee

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
04:18 Play $1.70
10
When In Rome (I Do As The Romans)

When In Rome (I Do As The Romans)

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:47 Play $1.70
11
Witchcraft

Witchcraft

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:21 Play $1.70
12
With Every Breath I Take

With Every Breath I Take

Composer

Cy Coleman & David Joel Zippel

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:50 Play $1.70
13
On The Other Side Of The Tracks

On The Other Side Of The Tracks

Composer

Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
02:23 Play $1.70
14
Would You Believe

Would You Believe

Composer

Cy Coleman & James Lipton

Collaboration Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett
03:17 Play $1.70
Total Running Time 43 minutes Purchase all tracks 
$13.00 
Prices shown in US Dollars

Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett have taken their creative partnership to the next level with this album.  Bennett's elegant playing and distinguished style fuse beautifully with the vocals of Britain's First Lady of Jazz.

The SACD layer is both 5.1 channel and 2-channel. The Studio Master files are 192kHz or 88.2kHz / 24-bit.

Download includes - cover art, inlay, booklet
Claire Martin

Claire Martin

The First Lady of British Jazz, Claire Martin, has won seven British Jazz Awards and was awarded an O.B.E. in 2011.
profile & recordings >>
Richard Rodney Bennett

Richard Rodney Bennett

Richard Rodney Bennett is a musician who is equally renowned in the worlds of jazz, film and classical music.
profile & recordings >>

Witchcraft is the result of the dynamic collaboration between Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett.  This album contains a thoughtful selection of songs from the Cy Coleman songbook.  Together, this collection weaves together the opposing talents of the sultry jazz sensation Claire Martin and the polished, savvy keyboard skills and compositional insight of Richard Rodney Bennett.  Martin's strength as one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook shines through in this recording.  The smoky elegance of her vocal sculpts itself around the smooth flowing textures of the piano accompaniment and the occasional vocal repartee of Bennett.  The result of this established partnership is mesmerising music that takes you back to a wonderful and simpler time of yesteryear. 

Booklet Notes:

The hackneyed shorthand for any creative partnership - but particularly one like this - is that it embodies the principle of yin and yang. The idea of complementary opposites working together is a beguiling one but there's a tendency, in the West, at least, to over-emphasise the opposition and not pay enough attention to the way the different elements interconnect. And out they trot like paired dancers in a cotillion: male and female, dark and light, instinct and reason. Or we can glide past the Chinese philosophy and look at how the idea might be (mis-)applied to the two artists represented here: ‘composition' and ‘jazz', order and improvisation, rules and mischief.         

Doesn't work, does it? The partnership of Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett illustrates the principle of yin and yang perfectly, but only if you concentrate on what they do together rather than what they seem to represent as individuals or as representatives on what everyone still seems to consider two different and competing strands in music. We still, whatever our loyalties, faintly mistrust any attempt at collaboration between jazz and classical: the conservatory people think Grappelli's articulation is sloppy and his bow-work all over the place; the jazz people wish Menuhin would lighten up a bit - nobody seemed to notice that both of them were beaming indulgently and that it sounded great.

The partnership of Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett now goes back long enough to merit the qualifier ‘established'. There was no formal set-up, though.  ‘I'd heard of Richard Rodney Bennett - mainly because of his work with the late, great Marion Montgomery. I'd been to see her a few times at the Pizza on the Park.  She had such a great swing time feel and chose sophisticated songs and I was quite in awe of both of them.  Then I met him in Glasgow in the early 90's.  He was checking out the Royal Concert Hall for a future date there and I was singing in one of the side rooms with my trio.  He came up to me afterwards and said all sorts of lovely things. We proceeded to smoke cigarettes and drink vodka and became firm friends. That was a lucky night for me.  Pure fluke.'

Apart from the sophisticated crowd who'd hipped to Bennett's work with the late, and yes, great Marion Montgomery, most casual listeners knew him as the acclaimed composer of film music, and particularly the wildly exciting and utterly atmospheric soundtrack to Murder on the Orient Express without which that elaborate set-piece clunks to the carpet like a length of lead pipe, or your Cluedo weapon of choice. Bennett is unique on the contemporary scene in having shaped a language that embraces high modernism - what used to be called the ‘avant-garde' - as well as jazz and popular song. It's hard to think of another composer who's done it, or done it so well. Peter Maxwell Davies wrote Miss Donnithorne's Maggot and a suite from The Boyfriend but that doesn't quite count, and we should be getting into the habit of thinking that a major composer is simply slumming - indulging himself - when (s)he writes a popular work. It's a bit like believing the story that Tennyson wrote dirty limericks. If only he had. Perhaps the most realistic comparison is with Shostakovich, who isn't all dark symphonic quiddity but also wrote music of delicious lightness. The only problem with the comparison is that it's impossible to imagine Richard Rodney Bennett taking instructions from Stalin or from any of the little Stalins in the music business.

‘We share a sense of humour and we laugh a lot. However, Richard is the boss and I'm fully aware that there's no point arguing the toss over material or musical ideas he doesn't agree with.  Anything I may suggest that's not to his liking is met with a simple "No" and that's that!' Claire apparently does a very good impression of the composer in imperious form. But here we are slipping into a situation where the classical composer represents authority and The Law and the jazz singer is giggling and messing about at assembly. Anyone who has worked with Claire Martin or spent any time watching her perform knows that her playfulness is backed with genuine musical authority. The days when comparison with the great jazz singers - Ella, Anita, Carmen, Shirley, Abbey, Betty, and Marion, too - was either wishful thinking or a wish for the future, those days have gone. Few contemporary singers can claim her authority and presence, or the unselfconscious ease with which she has taken the repertory of modern jazz beyond Broadway. It wasn't a cliché to cover Nick Drake songs when Claire began to do it, and few have ever done it better.

Nevertheless, for all the carping of jazz writers and some players who believe that the Great American Songbook is overdue an overhaul, the classic songwriters of the past are unlikely to be thrown overboard for a while yet. They are still the mother lode when it comes to song, part of a craft tradition that isn't terribly well understood now that writing a song is considered to be equivalent to hitching a hem on some part of your secret self. The classic songwriters were expected to write in character but not about themselves. They were required to be witty, and to work hard, not to lie back on a couch. And their craft presupposed an understanding of music that moved across the genres. George Gershwin and Cole Porter understood Brahms, Debussy and Stravinsky, quoted the ‘Moonlight Sonata' and could even make reference to the ‘Day of Wrath' motif when they needed to suggest conflict or impending disaster. Richard Rodney Bennett has that ability. Though he has a substantial catalogue of formal scores, many of them for voices, it is in his jazz playing and accompaniment that his musical intelligence shines through, an approach to song that takes the song as a whole rather than as a stepladder of ‘changes', AABA structure, or verses and chorus. ‘Singing with Richard is - to quote Chris Connor about someone else - like "singing on a cloud". He knows every verse to every song (jazz musicians rarely know these) and of course every lyric and alternative lyric that may exist. His knowledge of the human voice is astonishing and his time is strong and unfailing.  He plays with such romance and class and every now and then he'll play an arpeggio which will whisk me away! His arranging style is quite unique and his ability to work key changes into our songs is quite brilliant and so seamlessly done that you don't even realise they have happened!'

Witchcraft, of course, illustrates more than one yin/yang partnership. Cy Coleman started out as a trio performer and had a substantial success with a formula that notionally influenced Nat Cole and others. He actually started out as Seymor Kaufmann, but that's another, archetypally American story. Good as the trio was, what completed him as an artist was his encounter and partnership with Carolyn Leigh, a delightful toughie from the Bronx, who learned about language writing copy for ad agencies and delivered one of the best and most underrated shows of all in How Now, Dow Jones, with music by Elmer Bernstein. Her songs with Cy Coleman are classics, though, with romance and realism, cynicism and hope, chastened optimism and fatalism in perfect balance. Her work on Wildcat (which included ‘Hey Look Me Over' and originally starred Lucille Ball) and on the Tony award-winning Little Me (the pneumatic tale of ‘Belle Poitrine'! be still, our beating hearts) established her as one of the slyest lyricists around. Coleman went on later to work with Dorothy Fields. Whether this too was astrological destiny or a fluke like Claire Martin's meeting with Richard Rodney Bennett is hard to say, but Fields's legendary response to the initial request - ‘Thank God, someone asked!' - probably says it all.    

Thank God, likewise, that Richard Rodney Bennett went over and made himself known at the Concert Hall in Glasgow. Without that moment of chivalry (and he is now a knight of the profession), one of the most engaging, intelligent and consistent partnerships in contemporary music would not exist. Even if you're only starting here - in which case you have some delightful catching up to do - you can be assured that, in Coleman-ish phrase, and one that most fans will have seen galloping over the horizon: ‘The Best is Yet To Come'.

© Brian Morton, 2010

Claire Martin appointed an O.B.E.
13 June 2011
Birthday Honours List accolade
more >>

Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett on Tour 2011
11 May 2011
Spellbinding Jazz on Tour
more >>

Listen to Claire Martin on BBC Radio Ulster's Jazz Club
17 March 2011
An exciting interview with Claire and Richard Rodney Bennett
more >>

There is 1 customer recommendation - Read >>

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The International Review of Music
'A versatile performer with the capacity to find the inner life of whatever she sings.'


Sound Stage Experience
4½ Stars
'...this disc proves she has arrived as an impeccable master artist and one of the greatest living voices in jazz.'
more >>

Next Magazine
'...Martin is a wonderful interpreter who's perfectly paired with Bennett...'
more >>

Home Theater Sound
5 Stars
"...their partnership has created a rare and special collaboration where the superlative product is truly more than the sum of its parts."
more >>

Cabaret Scenes
'Both performers have flair for phrasing. Arrangements are refined and interesting.'
more >>

Jazz Times
'When Britain's foremost jazz singer meets the island's most imaginative composer, the outcome is always stellar.'
more >>

The New York Observer
'...sung to perfection by England's best young jazz singer, Claire Martin.'
more >>

The Wall Street Journal
'The result is a kind of perfection...'
more >>

New York Times
'...Martin, whose renditions...revealed the heart of a saloon torch beating inside the chipper jazz playmate.'
more >>

In Tune International
'...perfect combination of singer and pianist...'
more >>

MusicWeb International
"The collaboration between Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett works superbly."
more >>

Record Collector
4 Stars
"The blend is attractive and oddly harmonious."
more >>

The Walman Report / Culinary Gourmet
'Martin is a seasoned vocalist/performer and the end result is uniquely original.'
more >>

Jersey Jazz
"...an album that is a sheer delight from start to finish."
more >>

The Irish Times
"...plenty of wit and wordplay for the duo to savour, Martin is impeccable..."
more >>

BBC Music Magazine
'...near-perfect match of singer and accompanist...'
more >>

The Yorkshire Post
"Here's a lovely record...Martin is excellent throughout"
more >>

Theater Mania
"...her smokey voice caresses the composer's melodies."
more >>

The Observer
"...touching, clever, beautifully poised and deceptively casual-sounding."
more >>

The Times
4 Stars
'Martin's jazz virtuosity adds another dimension. When her honeyed timbre slips into the lower register she captures the romance of a Ben Webster tenor solo.'
more >>

LondonJazz
'Claire Martin, both in the duo setting and in front of the chamber group made each song, each moment come to life.'
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O's Place Jazz Magazine
'It is a pleasure to listen to!'
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North London News
'...a tempting mélange of the familiar and the under-visited...'
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The Scotsman
"Martin's beautifully delivered interpretations are spot-on whatever the mood of the song..."
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Scotland on Sunday
4 Stars
"...a joy to hear."
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London Jazz
'...her intimate, deceptively unfussy vocal style perfectly complemented by his flawlessly eloquent piano.'
more >>

Jazzwise
4 Stars
'...every one is a small gem.'
more >>

Jazz Journal
'...the result is one timeless version of a song after another...Unequivocally recommended.'
more >>

01 October 2014
England
SJE Arts, Oxford


09 October 2014 to 09 October 2014
England
Friends Life Sports and Social Club, Pixham Lane Dorking England United Kingdom
Revoice festival

31 October 2014 to 31 October 2014
England
Wakefield Jazz Club, Wakefield
with The Montpellier Cello Quartet

07 November 2014
England
Lighthouse, Poole
with the Montpellier Cello Quartet 

30 November 2014 to 30 November 2014
England
National Centre for Early Music, York
with The Montpellier Cello Quartet