Monday, 15 September 2008

Claire Martin

To see the velvet-voiced jazz singer Claire Martin at Bath's Ustinov theatre last night. The theatre may lack the ambience of a Ronnie Scott's, but Martin, backed by Jim Mullin on guitar and Laurence Cottle on bass, enthused her audience with a virtuouso performance lasting just over 90 minutes. There were a lot of Shirley Horn numbers - too many perhaps for a mixed audience that would have liked more Julie London or Johnny Mandel, craving a little more familiarity and even a few standards. Moreover, having recently seen a distinctly under par Mark Murphy at Ronnie Scott's, I'm not sure I'd agree with her that he is the finest living jazz singer. But Martin is a fine live singer, and her great voice did as much justice to his music as to that of her heroine Shirley Horn. She is definitely worth catching live if you can.

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