The immortal duets of vocalist Sheila Jordan with virtuoso bassists Cameron Brown and Harvie S, and with pianist extraordinaire, Steve Kuhn, now have a boon companion in Rebecca Martin's extraordinary trio album, When I Was Long Ago. Placing it with Jordan's legendary recordings is a must. The bassist on this session, Larry Grenadier, is in fine form, stretching melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, just as Brown and Harvie S did for Jordan. The addition of saxophonist Bill McHenry adds a second voice to the whimsical Martin. It is not easy to play off Martin's emotional storytelling, which is tinged with tones ...read more
Rebecca Martin's name keeps showing up in the jazz press, but she's more appropriately classified as one of the best singer/songwriters today. She's issued sessions heavy on standards, specifically 2002's Middlehope (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2004), and sung them lately with drummer Paul Motian, garnering her deserved high praise. But as stunning and personal as her work in the standards realm has been, her real strength is crafting and presenting her own songs, intimately spellbinding listeners into her world.
She does all this with the big, bad jazz boys. Here, with a drummer no less able to spin a yarn ...read more
It's been four years since Rebecca Martin last led a record date. In the interim she's given birth to her son Charlie, recorded on a Paul Motian project, and founded a citizen organization dedicated to local projects and government. Luckily for us, she's also taken the time to harvest a fresh batch of beautiful, original songs to enjoy on her CD The Growing Season. It's a strong continuation of her songwriting and fits squarely into her wider creative continuity.
It's also a reunion of sorts. Three members from Martin's 1995 group, Once Blue, work together for the first ...read more
To assume that singer/writer Rebecca Martin's comparatively small recorded output is a reflection of her level of development as an artist would be a mistake. Her latest recording is with Paul Motian on his recently released Trio 2000 + 1 Winter & Winter recording, On Broadway Vol. 4: Or The Paradox Of Continuity. She is the first vocalist to record for the legendary drummer's On Broadway series. Upon first consideration, Motian's often elliptical style and Martin's more straightforward approach to melody could seem to make strange bedfellows. But like minds and different approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive ...read more
Rebecca Martin's last recording, Middlehope, demonstrated conclusively that she is a unique interpreter of standards in intimate, beguiling, personal, enticing, sensual, captivating, alluring...absolutely enthralling... wonderful even... ways (see review ). One might assume, as does the first question in this interview, that her way with a chestnut probably got her signed to MAXJAZZ, a label with a growing roster of enchanting chanteuses of the jazz cannon. One would be wrong - assumptions won't do for Rebecca Martin. You see, whatever measure of skill and individuality she displays with her incendiary way with a torch song (a measure already in the ...read more
With her session of sixteen original songs, singer Rebecca Martin sends a message. She tells stories about love and how we feel about our relationships. These are folk songs. The music that accompanies her tender lyrics also gives off a glow of folk music charm. While the message is universal, the instrumental harmony remains rooted in that part of European culture that migrated to North America centuries ago. Hence, Martin's folk music echoes the folk ballad of North America.
It's Only Love" strolls easily through an urban setting, following us in our search for true love. Uncertainty and ...read more
Here is another terrific example of why I, and others like me, bother to engage in this practice. An incredible talent, a remarkable spirit, a true artist of substance this close to being absolutely huge, but not quite-yet. She's one of the few that brings to the reviewer the simultaneous feelings of incredulity, at having the opportunity to make them more widely known, and gravity, in recognition of the heady responsibility that underlays the task of extolling them in credible fashion. I mean, it's difficult to get over the notion that everybody must know she's great already She was great ...read more