Apart from being home to one of the world's premier tennis tournaments, Wimbledon is also the birthplace of one of Britain's finest-ever jazz singers - Claire Martin. This album is the eagerly awaited follow-up to the incredible Too darn hot. I don't really expect to hear another jazz album that is as good as that one, even from Claire, but this is a worthy follow-up of a very high quality. Like its predecessor, this album showcases Claire's jazz roots and is also produced by Richard Cottle. There is no return pop-rock crossover jazz that Claire tried with the earlier albums Take my heart and Precious alibi.
The title track, as most people know, began life as a pop ballad that Doris Day sang in Calamity Jane. Some Brits (almost certainly including Claire) will also be familiar with Kathy Kirby's very different version that became a UK top five hit in the sixties. Claire's version is different again but she may have got some ideas from both of those earlier versions in deciding how to interpret the song, which sounds brilliant.
Several of the songs here are classics from the Great American Songbook, among them being But beautiful, Love is a bore, Get happy, My buddy, Cheek to cheek and Something cool. Claire's versions of these songs are just as good as the original classic versions and I say that as a fan of Judy Garland, June Christy and the others who made these songs famous.
Claire's smoky alto sounds great whether she sings soft romantic ballads or rousing up-tempo songs. The competition on the British jazz scene is stiffer these days with Stacey Kent (born in New York but now based in London), Clare Teal and others. With this, her tenth original album, Claire proves that she is as good as ever and a match for all of them.
on 10 March 2009
The sound quality is excellent with this SACD, vocals are performed beautifully. CD plays mostly on the slow side, with just couple of tracks in a pacey style (my preference of jazz music). I don't like the tracks where you listen to voice and piano only. This kind of music isn't classed as jazz by me and so a little disappointed by that. Otherwise well composed CD.