Claire Martin - He Never Mentioned Love - Audiophile Audition

I generally wait with baited breath for each release from Claire Martin; the versatile English jazz singer has rarely disappointed me, and this loving tribute to the recently departed Shirley Horn is no exception. Included are twelve songs that were a part of Shirley Horn's recorded canon, and one tune, Slowly But Shirley, that was specially composed for this project. As with all of Claire Martin's albums, the level of musicianship is beyond reproach, and the glory of the music shows through on this pure-DSD multichannel SACD from Linn Records.

While it's hard to pick and choose from so many good tracks, there are a few really noteworthy numbers that are so musically satisfying, they easily cover the cost of admission. Trav'llin' Light, a trio number, features the superb double bass work of Steve Watts with equally nimble guitar accompaniment from Jim Mullen. The smoky-sweet alto of Claire Martin is the icing on an already delicious track. Leon Russell's classic A Song For You was a favorite of Shirley Horn, and Claire gives it her own signature treatment, including another really swinging solo from Jim Mullen. Gareth Williams' smooth electric piano work gives the tune a really funky seventies vibe. You're Nearer features both Steve Watts on double bass and Laurence Cottle on bass. Early on, Laurence Cottle plays his instrument exclusively in higher registers and as the lead instrument, giving the tune a really cool and truly unique quality. L.A. Breakdown is a superb blues number that reaches a sustained smooth groove that could just go on forever.

If you're a Claire Martin fan, this disc is no-brainer. Just a casual lover of really good music? Ditto. Very highly recommended!

Audiophile Audition
15 June 2007