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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Cabaret Scenes
'Both performers have flair for phrasing. Arrangements are refined and interesting.'
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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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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.'
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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 - The Times


25 March 2011
The Times
Clive Davis
4 Stars

If only it could have been longer.  In the space of barely an hour we witnessed a masterclass in how to fuse jazz and chamber music.  Few musicians have flitted back and forth across the tracks with as much aplomb as Richard Rodney Bennett, a composer who loves to croon a Gershwin standard in a piano bar.

This late-night celebration of his 75th birthday, with a contingent from the Nash Ensemble and guests including the fiery saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock, was a delight.  By the end my companion was rattling her imaginary pearls with the best of them.

Bennett's collaboration with the singer Claire Martin grows more assured with each passing year.  His long-running partnership with the American cabaret star, the late Mary Cleere Haran, reached rare heights: Haran, who died in a cycling accident earlier this year, had the presence of a seasoned actress.  But 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.

Only a couple of songs from the duo's fine new album, dedicated to the music of Cy Coleman, made an appearance, although the title number Witchcraft was indisputably a highlight.  The emphasis instead was on stylish, pared-down versions of arrangements that Bennett created for the Nash Ensemble and Eartha Kitt 40 years ago.  Flautist Philippa Davies and harpist Lucy Wakeford wove shimmering colours as drummer Matt Skelton and double-bass player Steve Watts laid down an unhurried backdrop.

John Wilson conducted with his usual eye for detail.  My Ship, It Might As Well Be Spring and September Song had a jewel-like beauty, and My Man's Gone Now struck a perfect balance between bluesy swing and classical formality.  Martin was even more affecting on her encore, as she and Bennett tip-toed through What'll I Do? Just the kind of intelligent cross-fertilisation that deserves to find a niche in this summer's jazz festivals.


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