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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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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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 - Witchcraft - Home Theater Sound


15 June 2011
Home Theater Sound
Rad Bennett
5 Stars

Music lovers have always perceived Claire Martin as a talented singer, but this disc proves she has arrived as an impeccable master artist and one of the greatest living voices in jazz. Listen to "Would You Believe," the last cut from this download, if you have any doubts. Richard Rodney Bennett, film-music composer, concert-hall composer, and jazz pianist-singer, is a true musical everyman. You never feel like he's a serious musician "playing down," as his multifaceted talents form an inseparable whole. He and Martin have been performing together for years, and their partnership has created a rare and special collaboration where the superlative product is truly more than the sum of its parts.

For this program, the remarkable duo turns its attention to songs by American composer Cy Coleman, mainly his pairings with lyricist Carolyn Leigh. Three of their biggest hits are here -- "Witchcraft," "The Rules of the Road," and "The Best Is Yet to Come" (performed with wit and a devilishly clever surprise ending) -- alongside lesser-known gems such as "Let Me Down Easy" (a poignant solo spot for Bennett), "On Second Thought," and "On the Other Side of the Tracks." Shifting away from Leigh as lyricist, we find "Nobody Does It Like Me," Coleman's stellar collaboration with Dorothy Fields, and "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life," one of the definitive torch songs of all time, written with Joseph Allan McCarthy.

A Linn spokesperson told me that this session was recorded and mastered at 24/192 and that the 24/88.2 versions (FLAC or WMA) were downsampled. The result here sounds effortless and natural. In the version I downloaded, piano and voices have appealing presence without a trace of shrillness, and subtle shadings and phrasings are delineated with clarity and accuracy. To suit your particular needs and equipment, Linn offers a wide range of downloads for this album. In addition to the ones already mentioned, there are also CD-quality FLAC and WMA, and MP3, not to mention a Hybrid Multichannel SACD! Prices vary from $11.00 for the MP3 up to $27.00 for the 24/192 download. The options are all made very clear in Linn's detailed listing, and as usual with Linn, there are audio previews of each track that you can audition before you buy.

Be sure to listen to: "That's My Style" (written with Peggy Lee) starts like it's going to be a solo for Bennett, but in the middle Martin comes in with "I'm in Love Again." It's an unexpected goosebump moment that will send a pleasant little chill down your spine.


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