Claire Martin - Too Much in Love to Care - Jazz History Online

Named 'One of the Best Albums of 2012' by Jazz History Online.

Any jazz lover traveling to London would be well-advised to seek out that city's many fine vocalists, many of whom are little-known in the United States. Anita Wardell has re-defined the standards of scat singing, Jacqui Dankworth has expanded and developed the legacy of her mother, Cleo Laine, Norma Winstone combines an adventurous spirit with an amiable musical persona, and Claire Martin has explored a wide range of musical styles. Martin's latest release, "Too Much in Love to Care", is her fifteenth album to date, but only her first to focus entirely on standards. Recorded on a recent trip to New York City, Martin performs with the supremely tasteful pianist Kenny Barron, woodwind specialist Steve Wilson and the redoubtable rhythm team of Peter and Kenny Washington. Martin's husky sound is reminiscent of June Christy, but her loose rhythmic and melodic concept is all her own. Her melodic paraphrase on "Weaver of Dreams" is remarkable in its freedom and execution, and she enlivens her versions of the Gershwin standards "Embraceable You" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" with rarely-heard alternative lyrics and heartfelt delivery.

Martin has recorded several albums with the composer/pianist Richard Rodney Bennett, so it's no surprise that several tracks on the current album find her in duet with Barron. I especially enjoyed Barron's accompaniment on "Time After Time", where he keeps the piece moving with a shifting rhythmic base and rich harmonies. Barron shared arranging duties with Martin's long-time collaborator Lawrence Cottle, and throughout the album, the settings are perfectly modulated to bring out the strengths in Martin's voice. Both Peter Washington's subtle bass countermelodies and Wilson's flute obbligato enrich Martin's interpretation of "A Time for Love", and Martin and the band glide like a Cadillac on a swinging version of "I Only Have Eyes for You". Martin has recorded for the Scottish audiophile label Linn for many years, and like several of her previous releases, the current album is an SACD-hybrid disc. It will play on all CD players, but the price is generally a little higher than standard discs. However, the quality of this music more than justifies the additional cost. Pick up this album and you're sure to become a fan of Claire Martin.

Jazz History Online
01 June 2012