Claire Martin’s Magical “Witchcraft”

Sometimes the idea for a partnership in music sounds wrong on paper but succeeds wonderfully well in practice.  A case in point is the partnership between Martin, one of the half-dozen best jazz singers in the world, and Bennett, a gifted classical composer whose symphonies and works for film and theatre are outstanding.  They have worked together now for a number of years, appearing in London and New York, including a March 2011 tour.  In their act the pair provide audiences with superb interpretations of songs in a manner that must surely please many otherwise disparate elements of their individual audiences.  On this CD, in which they explore the wide range of composer Cy Coleman, mainly from Broadway, their magical touch is really quite exceptional.

In their interpretations, Martin and Bennett encapsulate all that is good from their respective crafts, blending these qualities in such a way that the result is one timeless version of a song after another.  Among Martin’s seven solos are lovely versions of I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life, Nobody Does It Like Me and On Second Thoughts; her sound is warmly intimate, mature and filled with understanding.  Bennett’s accompaniment on every track is rich and apposite, subtle here and earthy there.  His four solo vocals include Sometime When You’re Lonely, Let Me Down Easy andThat’s My Style, and are delivered with a comfortably-worn sound that charms the listener.  When Martin and Bennett duet on the remaining four songs, the years of collaboration are vividly apparent through their easy and unforced familiarity.  Indeed, there is not a weak moment anywhere, all the songs being given very special treatment.  Sound quality is exceptional and there is a good liner note from Brian Morton.  Unequivocally recommended.

WRITTEN BY BRUCE CROWTHER FOR JAZZ JOURNAL ON 1ST MARCH, 2011

 



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