Claire Martin - Too Darn Hot! - CC Newz

Lounge Lizard Music. The images conjured by this CD are of smoky night-clubs with tireless the modern jazz combo struggling away in the corner to make itself heard above the hubbub of society dahlings with foot-long ivory cigarette holders and scarlet elbow-length satin gloves shrieking to each other from table to table...Suddenly - all is hushed as a blond bombshell in a slinky tight black off-the-shoulder number by Versace oozes onto the platform and starts to croon. The blond is Claire Martin - the crooning is silky smooth and superbly sexy. And before long the assembled rabble is enraptured by the quality of the band too.

This album consists of 13 standards of the modern jazz age and is kicked off with ‘Something's Coming' from West Side Story, a great choice for grabbing the attention. Other well-known favourites include ‘The Gentleman is a Dope,' ‘When I Fall in Love,' ‘These Foolish Things' and the title track ‘Too Darn Hot.' Claire is so well-regarded that she is able to call on really great instrumentalists of the ilk of Clark Tracey on drums, Gareth Williams, piano and the magnificent Nigel Hitchcock on saxaphones. There is welcome variation when she calls on The Tapestry String Quartet for further back-up. And to top all this she has the services of Richard Cottle and Richard Rodney Bennett among others in helping with the stunning arrangements.

Now, I'll be straight with you. I can generally only take Jazz Singers in very small doses. Name certain well-known exponents of this ‘art' and it' ll have me reaching for a bucket straight away. So. It's with a certain degree of surprise that I recommend this CD without hesitation - it'll be just the ticket for that late night relaxation or background to a dinner party. Best of all, I'll put it on my multi-disc changer and play on random so that, every now and then, up will pop that touch of class that is Claire Martin with one of her sleazy renditions and I'll swoon! Real Cool, Man.

30 May 2002