Claire Martin - Believin' it (Live) - Jazz Views
It is now pretty much an established fact that when it comes to jazz singing that Claire Martin is the real deal. Over the course of a long and distinguished career, this is her twentieth album, she is never content to rest on past glories, but continues to work on her craft and constantly looking to get better and push herself and her music.
Casting a look back over her discography, there is so much diversity and sheer quality to keep her music fresh for her audience and indeed herself that it seems a monumental task for Martin to continue to come up with something fresh and exciting, but once again with Believin' it she has done it again.
There are many factors that have contributed to the success of this new offering, not least is Claire herself who is magnificent throughout, but also the choice of repertoire and the new trio assembled for the recording, with pianist Martin Sjöstedt being one hell of a find. Contributing no less than twelve of the arrangements, he has been able to arrange for the vocalist in such a way that the diverse choice of songs featured could have been written especially for her. No mean feat when tackling some classic songs from 10cc with a wonderful 'I'm Not In Love', and beautiful version of 'Broken Wings' from the American pop rock band Mr. Mister which originally charted more than thirty years ago.
As well as contributing arrangements, Sjöstedt also reveals himself to be the perfect choice pianist for Martin at this point in her career. Indeed the singer and pianist seem perfectly attuned to each other, with the pianist able to provide the perfect support for singer and song. Indeed, this is also true for the quartet as whole, make no mistake this is no singer plus trio recording but a truly collaborative affair.
A delight from start to finish Claire shines on each and every number. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she tackles Joni Mitchell's 'You Dream Flat Tires' with aplomb and takes on 'Cherry Tree Song' written by John Surman and Karin Krog, giving the song an entirely different feel from the version recorded by Surman and Krog on their 2013 album Songs About This & That, without detracting from the feeling invoked by the delicate melody and lyrics. Add to this this a a couple of straight ahead swingers and some superlative ballads, then you simply cannot fail to produce a fine album, that can be appreciated by all.
In what is undoubtedly one of the best vocal albums this year, I cannot shake the feeling that Claire Martin has not yet peaked, and we can look forward to much more great music in the future. In the meantime, make sure you add this one to you collection.