Claire Martin - The Waiting Game - Jazz Educators Journal

This is a CD I can hardly keep out of my CD player. A tenacious jazz sound, jazz feel, jazz phrasing ... yeah, an insistently head-spinning jazz singer is what Claire Martin is! Her hip, intoxicating voice and natural manner in shaping songs-unfolding tales and inherent nuances lying in wait to be enlivened-simply keeps her singing crisply fresh and savory. Plainly she places high value on telling the story in her singing, and you need to be a convincing, compassionate thespian to tell a story well. Martin gets inside of a song, insinuates its seclusion, and transmutes the lyrics on a page into one of bright illumination. Dig her captivating sunny conversancy and shading on every syllable, word and line. Apropos to her interpretive substance and finesse, the words explode, ooze, stretch and swing with easeful splendor. Her enthusiasm and discerning taste in music are transparent through the appealing eclectic choice of her songs, fitting snugly into what's best yesterday and today. Small wonder her talents were alerted in her early teen years and were rewarded with vocal jazz honors. Born in London, her recent British jazz awards include "Best New Jazz Artist of 1994" and "Best Jazz Singer 1995." Aided by a swinging Jim Mullenon guitar and a rhythm section led by pianist Jonathen Gee, the dozen tunes constitute a well balanced slate imprinted with her stylistic signature and verve. She hits the jazz spot dead center with her opener You Hit the Spot, followed by Joni Mitchell's Be Cool articulated with meaningfulness. Her Chris Connor influence seeps through a bit and therefore, whether it is a ballad like It's Always Four A.M., If You Could See Me Now, and This Funny World or Betty Carter's Tight, Better Than Anything or Martin's own The Waiting Game-there is plenty of added value. The bottom line is Claire. Martin is a beautiful addition to the vocal jazz world. U.S. festivals and other venues should be rushing to play host to her.

Jazz Educators Journal
01 January 1997