241

Claire Martin: Perfect Alibi

Craig Jolley By

Sign in to view read count
One of the best of a strong crop of young British jazz singers, Claire Martin has been on the scene for over ten years. Actually it's not clear she is a jazz singer, but that's another discussion. One thing that makes sense is her repertoire. She used to sing show tunes from the '30s and '40s and probably still does occasionally, but lately she's been recording the better pop songs of the last forty years (the Beatles and after). She believes in these songs and gets inside them. She is not swing oriented, but her time is superb.

She stays close to the original on Laura Nyro's "He's a Runner," allowing the song and the arrangement to do much of the work but rendering it with her own downhearted, blues-informed slant. She finally admits to herself the guy is history and abstractly considers the devastating effect of his departure. The original was more a declaration of his lack of character. An example of her ability to renovate a song: Al Kooper's "More Than You'll Ever Know." The original had a late '60s macho feel ("I could be president of General Motors")—the singer momentarily dropped his guard to admit he cared but let it be known it wasn't his usual style. Martin slows it down and gives it a bona fide vulnerability but remains aware of the liaison's precariousness.

Martin sounds like she can sing the blues but chooses not to on this CD, preferring ambiguous, blues-related numbers such as "Up from the Skies" she can interpret with her modern sensibility. Her forward momentum does not allow a tune's repetitiveness to be felt.

On some tunes ("Shadowville," "He's Runner," "Man in the Station"—a duet with John Martyn—and "More than I Can Bear") she successfully integrates a Country feeling, overcoming some trivial lyrics on a couple of them. Here's hoping Country does not become her predominant interest.

Arranger Paul Stacey comes in for much of the credit. He arranges the tunes with an open feeling and rhythmic subtlety that allows Martin to bring them into her present.

Perfect Alibiis Martin's best CD so far.


Track Listing: How Can I Be Sure?; Man in the Station; Up from the Skies; Inspired Insanity; People Make the World Go Round; Shadowville; Strangers Now; More Than You'll Ever Know; Over by Allenby; More Than I Can Bear; He's a Runner; Wailing Wall.

Personnel: Claire Martin: vocals; John Martyn: vocal; Paul Stacey: keyboards, synth, guitars, dobro, arranger, backup vocal; Andy Wallace, Jason Rebello, Robin Aspland: keyboards; Anthony Kerr: vibes; Arnie Somogyi: bass, arranger; Jeremy Stacey, Louis Jardim, Matthew Skeeping, Andrew Newmark, Ian Thomas: drums; Charlotte Glasson: arranger; orchestra.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Linn Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Blue Shroud" CD/LP/Track Review The Blue Shroud
by John Sharpe
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "A Moment In Time" CD/LP/Track Review A Moment In Time
by James Nadal
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Aziza" CD/LP/Track Review Aziza
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Neuroplastic Groove" CD/LP/Track Review Neuroplastic Groove
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!