Claire Martin - Witchcraft - Jersey Jazz
Were Cy Coleman still with us, he would surely be smiling with approval at Witchcraft (Linn - 359), a collection of Coleman songs performed by vocalist Claire Martin and pianist/vocalist Richard Rodney Bennett. Martin and Bennett have been working together whenever they can for the past two decades, and they have developed the kind of united musical spirit that makes their efforts frequently transcendent. The vocalizing is handled solely by Martin on six tracks, by Bennett on three, and they perform duets on the remaining five selections. Among the most familiar tunes are "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right out of My Life," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "The Rules of the Road," "Nobody Does It Like Me," "When in Rome," "Witchcraft," "With Every Breath I Take" and "On the Other Side of the Tracks." The other songs are just as appealing, especially two that I have long admired, "On Second Thought" and "Let Me Down Easy." Martin is a strong singer with a dusky voice that envelops a lyric, and she has a wonderful way of conveying the essence of the words in each song. Bennett has a light tone, but is equally adept at finding the heart of the lyrics that he sings. In addition, he is among the most creative and supportive of all accompanists. Put it all together, and you have an album that is a sheer delight from start to finish.