Claire Martin - Time & Place - The Guardian

Subtle expertise

Anyone with half an ear open to the elusive art of song interpretation will have recognised a subtle expert in UK vocalist Claire Martin over the past 25 years. But she has rarely sounded so commanding and moving on disc as on this unusual session, a vehicle for great themes from Kurt Weill's My Ship to Joni Mitchell's Two Grey Rooms to Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight, with a jazz group and an all-cello quartet in support. Martin (who is currently touring this music with the Montpellier Cello Quartet) is delicately resonant on My Ship as the cellos whirr and scurry on the countermelody; her timing of the barrelling syllables on Catch Me If You Can shows her rhythmic sensitivity; the Beatles' She's Leaving Home can rarely have had a more discomfitingly forthright interpretation; and Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World is a highlight of the session, with its serpentine cello twisting in the singer's flawless upper range. The finale, Richard Rodney Bennett's Goodbye for Now, is a wry tribute to Martin's beloved alter-ego, whose death in 2012 was a calamitous loss to her, but ultimately the inspiration for this fine album.

The Guardian
18 September 2014