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Claire Martin - A Modern Art - Jazzwise


19 August 2009
Jazzwise
Stuart Nicholson
4 Stars

One of the problems of the relatively insular jazz scene in the UK is ubiquity. You see an artist over the years, and you think you know their story. But artists grow, they mature and suddenly they can turn around and take you by surprise. Which is what A Modern Art does. 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 in a way that builds on He Never Mentioned Love, her previous album. She could always sing a good song well, but like many recordings by Ella Fitzgerald there was a sense of remaining at arms length from the emotional subtext of the lyrics. But here she seems intent on conveying each song's inner meaning, revealing an emotional depth that was perhaps missing on earlier albums such as Off Beat. This is revealed on pieces such as ‘Love of Another' and ‘As We Live and Breathe' and even witty pieces such as ‘The Things I Miss the Most' or ‘So Twentieth Century'. To paraphrase Robert Graves, Claire Martin is really very good, despite all the people who say she's very good.
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