Secret Love -

The title track of Claire Martin's enchanting new jazz album manages to banish all thoughts of its more famous musical incarnation, and achieves the almost impossible: to make it sexy and seductive. Doris Day may have kept our hearts aflutter with closeted yearnings, but here ‘Secret Love' is transformed into an upbeat, swing number that breaths exciting new life into this classic, that's been standardised to within an inch of its life.

It's a trick Martin pulls off throughout Secret Love, her tenth album for Linn Records. Judy Garland's classic number ‘Get Happy' becomes almost a duet with the fast rhythms of percussionist Clark Tracey. It knocks the showy overtones away, leaving an improvisational feel as it breaks for solos from piano, bass, and sax.

Perhaps the best known track is ‘Cheek To Cheek', made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though they may have difficulty dancing to it at this tempo! However, my personal favourite is her haunting rendition of ‘My Buddy', which Martin has dedicated to her friend, the late Joel Siegel, and in which Sir Richard Rodney Bennett accompanies her on piano.

Produced by Richard Cottle, Secret Love features the excellent Nigel Hitchcock, Gareth Williams, Laurence Cottle and Clark Tracey. Special guest artists include the much acclaimed guitarist Jim Mullen who features in a duet with Martin on the track ‘Where Do You Start'.

Martin has an exceptional voice: it's silky smooth and soothes away your troubles, allowing you to melt into the intoxicating rhythms and enjoy her genuine talent for all it's worth.

But what's special about Secret Love is that it keeps a spontaneous, live feel, despite being recorded in the studio. This gives the album an intimacy that hits home and makes it perfect as mellow background music or for wallowing in sophisticated glamour.

04 October 2004