Claire Martin - Slowly but surely

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There’s a certain style, swagger and above all sassiness about Claire Martin that has endeared her to jazz fans for many years now. Her ability to interpret lyrics while swinging hard has secured her position at the top of the tree among jazz singers in the UK. For her latest album, He Never Mentioned Love, she pays tribute to one of her singing idols, Shirley Horn, for a sincere tribute that features Martin at her very best. Jane Cornwell talks to Claire as she prepares to fly to New York for a major residency. Claire Martin - Slowly but surely
Claire Martin has been called a lot of things in the course of her 20-year career, all of them good, most of them dazzling. She is, variously, the doyenne of UK jazz singers. The first lady of British jazz. The Madonna of British jazz. The outstanding new British voice of the decade. And more, much more; the recipient of a clutch of British Jazz Awards, Martin has become a sort of benchmark for quality, style, sophistication. America might have its Kralls and Peyrouxs, Europe its Agossis and Nergaards, but Britain seems overjoyed to have Martin – who, with her profile increasing Stateside, likes to fly the flag in return.

Indeed, from the moment she released her debut album, The Waiting Game, in 1992, Martin has been showered with accolades. An early champion was the eminent British composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, who had his first Claire Martin experience at a concert hall in Glasgow that same year: “When the concert began, on to the stage came a dazzling young blonde girl, who swung like mad with ‘You Hit the Spot’; I turned to my friend, an operatic soprano as it happened, and whispered ‘That’s a star!’ Claire had it all; a lovely, rich voice, an immaculate jazz sense, taste, humour and emotional intensity. The repertoire escaped from the usual rut, there were some fierce jazz pieces and some great, searing ballads.”

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #109 to read the full feature and receive a Free CD subscribe here…