Related Reviews
The International Review of Music
'A versatile performer with the capacity to find the inner life of whatever she sings.'
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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.'
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Next Magazine
'...Martin is a wonderful interpreter who's perfectly paired with Bennett...'
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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."
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Jazz Times
'When Britain's foremost jazz singer meets the island's most imaginative composer, the outcome is always stellar.'
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The New York Observer
'...sung to perfection by England's best young jazz singer, Claire Martin.'
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The Wall Street Journal
'The result is a kind of perfection...'
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New York Times
'...Martin, whose renditions...revealed the heart of a saloon torch beating inside the chipper jazz playmate.'
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In Tune International
'...perfect combination of singer and pianist...'
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MusicWeb International
"The collaboration between Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett works superbly."
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Record Collector
4 Stars
"The blend is attractive and oddly harmonious."
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The Walman Report / Culinary Gourmet
'Martin is a seasoned vocalist/performer and the end result is uniquely original.'
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Jersey Jazz
"...an album that is a sheer delight from start to finish."
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The Irish Times
"...plenty of wit and wordplay for the duo to savour, Martin is impeccable..."
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BBC Music Magazine
'...near-perfect match of singer and accompanist...'
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The Yorkshire Post
"Here's a lovely record...Martin is excellent throughout"
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Theater Mania
"...her smokey voice caresses the composer's melodies."
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The Observer
"...touching, clever, beautifully poised and deceptively casual-sounding."
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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.'
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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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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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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.'
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
'...every one is a small gem.'
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Jazz Journal
'...the result is one timeless version of a song after another...Unequivocally recommended.'
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Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett - Live Review - Cabaret Scenes


11 June 2011
Cabaret Scenes
Alix Cohen

Without so much as an arpeggio, Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett launch into a short version of "Puttin' on the Ritz." This is not, Bennett explains, a show about Irving Berlin's life or career, but rather about the songs-"He tried to write one a day; there are over 1,500."

The evening features less familiar material like "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan," which Martin delivers sighing and sultry, and "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me": "To send me a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart/Wasn't smart" sung with moving sincerity. There are also signature Fred Astaire numbers, such as "Change Partners"-performed with great charm by Bennett and his terpsichorean piano-and "Cheek to Cheek," less successful at tap tempo;  and old favorites exemplified by Bennett's enchanting rendition of "What'll I Do?" and Martin's "Shaking the Blues Away"-a little scat, a little shaking of shoulders, and lots of style.

There are two birthdays in the room, 90- and 91-year-old ladies. When one spontaneously completes a lyric during "How Deep Is the Ocean," the artists gracefully turn the audience loose on the song. Almost everyone knows the words. "Big ending!," Martin encourages. Unfortunately, it's the only instance either of them engages the audience or, in fact, each other.

Duets (highlights) include several deftly arranged medleys, a zippy rendition of "When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'" and the lovely, rarely heard "Waiting at the End of the Road," although it was recorded by such singers as Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby. Martin and Bennett's voices work well together. His low modulation provides a kind of cushion for her more varied and lustrous range. Both swing gently and with ease.

"I'm very lucky to be here," Martin tells us, "because, as you may have noticed, I'm a Brit and it's like bringing coals to Newcastle." She has her own highly lauded jazz interview show on the BBC. "I learned pop tunes off the radio and watching movie musicals which, because of where I lived, were about six years out of date," comments Bennett, whose career has included success in an extremely wide range of musical genres as composer, pianist, arranger and vocalist. The few brief elucidating historical notes are his.

Both performers have flair for phrasing. Arrangements are refined and interesting. Bennett's playing is more successful on meditative pieces than those which are rendered uptempo. All in all, an entertaining show shared with a couple of adroit musicians.


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