Claire Martin has been one of the more outstanding new voices of the 1990's, not only in her native England, but in the US as well. For her eighth album for the British Linn label, Martin has decided to look back by compiling some selections from those previous releases and include some of the better offerings found on her Linn recording resume. It's interesting that while most of the musical agenda is made up of jazz tunes, most of them fall into the unfamiliar category. Martin makes it without using well known standards as a crutch. Good for her!
From her 1997 release Make This City Ours comes "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" which offers some fine alto sax by Antonio Hart and piano by Gareth Williams. Her own "Devil's Gonna Get You" from her first album, the 1993 release Devil May Care gives some solo room to Jim Mullen on guitar and Arnie Somogyi on bass. The requisite nod to Latin rhythms comes with a swinging "Partners in Crime". One of the prettiest and most poignant ballads on the set is "It's Always Four A. M." from perhaps her finest CD, The Waiting Game. She does this with just Jonathan Gee's piano in support which sets off the purity of her voice.
The thing that strikes one as each tune unfolds is Martin's amazing consistency. Whether the tune be from her first album, or from her last, the same high quality of interpretation and delivery remains intact. Recommended. Visit Claire Martin's unofficial web page at http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~claire.martin
Track Listing: When the Sun Comes Out; Be Cool; It's Always Four A. M.; Partners in Crime; Estate (Summer); No Moon at All; Chased Out; Off Beat; Would You Believe?; Devil's Gonna Get You; Riverman; The Waiting Game; More Than You'll ever Know; Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home
Personnel: Claire Martin - Vocals; Steve Melling, Jonathan Gee, Gareth Williams -Piano; Arnie Somogyi, Peter Washington - Bass; Clark Tracey, Greg Hutchinson, Jeremy Stacey, Ian Thomas - Drums; Mark Nightingale, Nichol Thomson - Trombone; Jim Mullen - Guitar; Antonio Hart - Alto Sax; Paul Stacey - Guitar/Bass Guitar/Keyboard; Robin Miller - Harmonica; Darragh Morgan, Anna Giddey, Brian Wright, Catherine Browning, Chris Payne - Violin; Charlotte Glasson, John Murphy, Sophie Sirota - Viola; Sarah Barker, Jo Richards - Cello; Mark Smith -Autoharp; Duncan Mackay, Alistair "Titch" Walker - Trumpet; Mornington Lockett - Tenor Sax; Robin Aspland - Wurlitzer; Andy Wallace - Hammond Organ