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.'
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.'
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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.'
more >>
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..."
more >>
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."
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.'
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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!'
more >>
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."
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 >>

Claire Martin - Witchcraft - London Jazz


12 March 2011
London Jazz
Chris Parker

Since their first meeting in Glasgow in the early 1990s, singer Claire Martin and composer/pianist Richard Rodney Bennett have been what Martin calls 'firm friends', their relationship cemented by a common interest in the subtleties of songwriting and jazz singing, not to mention cigarettes and vodka.

On this album, they perform as a (delightfully informal but consistently musicianly) duo, her intimate, deceptively unfussy vocal style perfectly complemented by his flawlessly eloquent piano. Their material is all mined from the Cy Coleman songbook, his celebrated classics ('The Best is Yet to Come', 'Witchcraft') interspersed with less celebrated but none the less touching, wry love songs ('Sometime When You're Lonely', 'Nobody Does It Like Me') and the odd snappy social satire (the Lehreresque Ev'rybody Today is Turning On', co-written by Michael Mike Stewart, brother of celebrated folk singer/songwriter John).

Martin might have been specially created to interpret these self-deprecating, witty but poignant songs, her ostensibly conversational delivery underpinned by firm adherence to all the classic jazz-singing essentials: crystal-clear diction, a sophisticated sense of swing, a keen intelligence able to wring every last drop of significance from the sharpest lyric. Bennett, too, though not a singing virtuoso, has an affecting, attractively lived-in voice, and so the pair's duets are entertaining and emotive, and the album as a whole is, as one recent reviewer commented, 'wise and cultivated ... altogether satisfying'.

 


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