Claire Martin - Too Darn Hot! - HMV Choice
Unbelievably, it's ten years since her first album "The Waiting Game", but British jazz singer Claire Martin still seems as fresh a talent as ever. Live, she's top value: a spunky performer who delivers a great show, no matter where or when. On disc, she always gets the simple-but-important things right - like surrounding herself with good musicians and songs - resulting in a copper-bottomed body of recorded work. She's a jazz singer through and through, but as a woman born in the 60s she rightly embraces standards written while she's been alive as well as the classics. Here there's Joni Mitchell's Blue Motel Room from the 70s sung in a short and sweet a capella duet with her old chum Ian Shaw. She rearranges These Foolish Things into a more carefree box than usual, expertly accomplishes a slow and sexy vibe for the title track and enlists the string-quartet-arranging skills of her longtime champion Sir Richard Rodney Bennett on two songs. All of which illustrates the never-a-dull-moment nature of this CD release; and that's before getting around to discussing her great singing.