Rebecca Martin: When I Was Long Ago (2010)

By Published: | 6,175 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Rebecca Martin: When I Was Long Ago
The immortal duets of vocalist Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
b.1928
vocalist
with virtuoso bassists Cameron Brown
Cameron Brown
Cameron Brown
b.1945
bass
and Harvie S
Harvie S
Harvie S
b.1948
bass
, and with pianist extraordinaire, Steve Kuhn
Steve Kuhn
Steve Kuhn
b.1938
piano
, 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, FLY
FLY
FLY

band/orchestra
, is in fine form, stretching melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, just as Brown and Harvie S did for Jordan. The addition of saxophonist Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry

saxophone
adds a second voice to the whimsical Martin. It is not easy to play off Martin's emotional storytelling, which is tinged with tones of earthy penitential sadness, so McHenry adds his sun-peeping-from-the-dark-clouds voice when called upon, responding to Martin's raw emotion. The result is most extraordinary, absolutely delightful and thoroughly unforgettable.

Martin is a composer of considerable talent, approaching the repertoire that she serves up like a master-chef, creating rare and fine epicurean fare. Approaching older creations as a composer—which is how Martin views these charts—has given them, quite simply, a brand new life. The trio format must stand back from the spotlight, so that Martin's vocal gymnastics can take center stage, part of a visible minority of singers in her approach to song. Apart from inhabiting the characters in each of the songs she sings, Martin is able to let her emotions take control of her vocal chords. It is a talent that vocalists like Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist
and only a handful of others possess. Martin's voice does not soar, but hovers hypnotically, barely above a whisper, like a dramatic monologue brought to life by a Shakespearean artiste in an epic tragedy. Her voice has wings, but is low-flying as it stirs the emotions of those who will give her an ear.

Thus, the extravagant visuals of "Wrap Up Your Troubles In Dreams" and "Willow Weep For Me" unfold in slow motion, in the dusky atmosphere of Martin's voice, increasing the songs' drama. More than anything, it is her spectacularly moody introductions to songs like "For All We Know" and "Someone To Watch Over Me" that set indigo shades and tones atop the charts that follow. That McHenry adds his expressive voice with slanted and wonderful shades, from the palette he brings to the song, makes them resonate with a newness that gives the songs a first-time feel. Grenadier might seem to hover in the shadows throughout, but he is far from invisible; with a tremendous sense of time and swinging harmony, he is often melodically inclined and, tantalizingly plays contrapuntal lines that beautify the melodies beyond the normal stretch of the imagination. His star turn on "Willow Weep For Me," as well as on several other charts, makes him a star, too.

This is gripping music from a star whose time has surely come, with the intriguingly beautiful When I Was Long Ago.

Track Listing: For All We Know; But Not For Me; Lush Life; No Moon At All; Charlie Sings; Cheer Up Charlie; Low Key Lightly (Lucky In Love); Wrap Up Your Troubles In Dreams; Someone To Watch Over Me; I Don't Know What Time It Was; Willow Weep For Me.

Personnel: Rebecca Martin: voice; Larry Grenadier: bass; Bill McHenry: tenor, alto and soprano saxophones.

Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Style: Vocal


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google