Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett - When Lights Are Low - Scotland on Sunday
The Edinburgh duo concert given by jazz singer Claire Martin and singer-pianist Sir Richard Rodney Bennett was a highlight of the Starbucks Edinburgh Jazz Festival this year. If you missed it, or if you didn't and you want to relive it, order this CD pronto: it's a gem.
On paper, Martin and Bennett may seem like an odd couple, but musically they are a perfect match, both when singing together (as on the gorgeous title track) and when Bennett is accompanying Martin. His versatile piano playing - whether on dreamy ballads or on rollicking, blues-infused numbers - brings class to the double act; her husky, sensuous vocals - notably on the poignant torch song My Mood Is You - give it sex appeal.
The choice of material is imaginative and, in the case of one of the stand-out tracks, often unexpected: Bennett steals the show with his exquisite, heart-on-his-sleeve interpretation of Elvis Costello's Baby Plays Around, a pop ballad of quiet resignation which is emerging as a contemporary jazz standard.