Claire martin, vocals; Various supporting groups and musicians
We first heard Claire Martin live before having the pleasure of enjoying her recorded work. That first encounter took place in a Salzburg beer cellar. Ms. Martin was aggressive, raucous and accompanied by a bunch of blokes who looked as if they would be useful on a dark night in a dodgy neighbourhood. "Sort of rocky," we thought. Except, of course, Claire and her blokes were using proper chords and you couldn't help noticing that the music was not just pure energy. Mind you, they were inflammatory that night. This selection, taken from a half-dozen previously released CDs, gives us Claire Martin at her diverse best. And diverse she is. She does a couple of old Streisand flag-wavers, along with a surprise offering of Estate - something we may have considered uncharacteristic for this singer. Until you listen closely to not so much her phrasing, as the "voice" itself. If you think that listening to a singer's voice must be pretty obvious, but purity of sound, for the sake of sound alone, is often overlooked. Ms Martin "sounds" good, which means that accentuation, inflection and phrasing, projection, even the way she reads the charts, are all a bonus to what is already a fine musical instrument.
It would be unfair to mention one musician above any of the others on such a broad scope. Suffice to say that Ms Martin has the benefit of a fine selection of musicians throughout. Devil's Gonna Get You is the sort of hip thing that this singer does perfectly. Riverman, well, flows. We are given a welcome selection of "new" standards. With intriguing melodies and lyrics. Al Kooper's More Than You'll Ever Know shows what can be done with some of the better pop material if given to a singer and bunch of musicians of this quality. Quite beautiful. She can do just about anything - and she swings, too. Very highly recommended.
by Lawrence Brazier
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