Claire Martin - The Waiting Game - Jazziz

Were Caire Martin an instrumentalist, she'd bring to mind Miles Davis and Chet Baker more than Fats Navarro – or Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond more than Phil Woods. The Waiting Game, like 1994's equally appealing Old Boyfriends, is cool jazz in the best sense: intimate, understated and characterized by a relaxed yet confident sense of swing. Using restraint and subtlety, the young British songstress draws on influences ranging from June Christy, Peggy Lee and Chris Connor to Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell (whose "Be Cool" provides one of The Game's strong points) to stake out her own distinctive territory.

To Martin's credit, she relies on less obvious material as vehicles for her very personal statements. "You Hit the Spot" and "Better Than Anything" aren't standards, but her convincing interpretations indicate that they deserve to be. And Martin may just prove to be an effective standard bearer, too.

01 November 1996