Secret Love - Good

My introduction to Claire Martin was her Too Darn Hot! SACD, reviewed very positively here some months ago. Hearing Secret Love causes me to pronounce her one of the two or three finest jazz vocalists working today. Martin's sultry, smoky voice goes where she wants and does what she asks it to do. She chooses her songs with impeccable taste, creating an exciting, engaging blend of new and classic tunes. And she has some of the best backup musicians in the world. She knows how to get inside a lyric, then present it simply with unmistakable meaning. Here she swings through such upbeat songs as "Get Happy" and "Jive" while fully emoting the heaviest blues songs, weepers such as "The Meaning of the Blues" and "God Give Me the Strength." And, accompanied by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at the piano, she closes the album with the most intimate version of "Something Cool" that I've heard since June Christy's. The sound is warm and intimate, curiously constrained to the center channel a bit too often, but not nearly as rooted there as was Too Darn Hot!...

17 January 2005