Claire Martin - A Modern Art (preview) - Venue
Few vocalists have managed the unbroken success of Claire Martin, the UK jazz singer who was marked as a Rising Star by the British Jazz Awards back in the early 90s and, since then, has gone on to win the Best Vocalist award no less than five times. If there's a secret to her success - other than her natural talent and hardworking persistence - it is probably the way she has focussed on great predecessors, notably the often under-regarded Shirley Horn. Martin's 2007 album ‘He Never Mentioned Love' was a sincere and successful tribute to the late Ms Horn and her influence can be heard on Martin's latest recording ‘The Modern Art' (released this month). It's an album rich in jazz playing, with a top-notch band that includes Phil Robson (guitar), Nigel Hitchcock (sax), Gareth Williams (piano) and Laurence Cottle (bass) among many others but it's Claire Martin's voice, bubbling and smoking by turns, that gives the music character. The songs include new material written by Cottle and Martin together as well as rare classics from Rogers and Hart and even Esbjorn Svensson and the collection has a classic freshness that goes way beyond the often clichéd Great American Songbook repertoire and may well see Ms Martin making it sixth time lucky when prize day comes.