Claire Martin - Live at The Oak Room - Cabaret Scenes
Claire Martin is one of the best jazz interpreters around. She hails from foggy London town settling into The Oak Room to collaborate with (Sir) Richard Rodney Bennett, pianist extraordinaire. "Witchcraft" concentrates on Cy Coleman's early pop songs in the first half of the show and Ms. Martin obliges that "The Best Is Yet To Come." She sings organically, creating riffs, hills and valleys on the erudite Coleman melodies. She has that I've been around look, creating an impression of nonchalant wisdom. She doesn't rely upon fancy dress and glitter because she only needs one thing: her smoky jazzy colorations.
Cy Coleman collaborated with a variety of lyricists but his liaison with Carolyn Leigh produced much of the intimate banter for which they are celebrated such as "Rules of the Road" that Ms. Martin sang, Blossom Dearie style, showing off a subtle, amusing personality. A Carmen MacRae fan, the sad "Would You Believe" (lyric:James Lipton) presented prowess as a storyteller as she wailed "you're a big fool as I am.". Martin's exterior easy style gave way on ballad "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life" (lyrics: Joseph Allan McCarthy) with quivering phrasing emphasizing the impact of the lyric she loves so well.
"Nobody Does It Like Me" (lyricist:Dorothy Fields), admittedly not in Martin's jazz comfort zone, was given a humorous version, squeezing out each nuance of lyric and some new ones.