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A Modern Art Hybrid SACD, SACD

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD, SACD, 21 Sep 2009
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Sept. 2009)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Linn Records
  • ASIN: B002JAPEZK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,263 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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BBC Review

She’s performed with John Martyn and Noel Gallagher and often features Tom Waits and Nick Drake songs in her repertoire, so it’s no surprise that Brit jazz singer Claire Martin has chosen to make A Modern Art a scrapbook of contemporary songs.

The exception is Rodgers and Hart’s Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You. It was written in the 1940s, but it’s strikingly forthright and modern, fitting neatly with tunes by the likes of Donald Fagan and Coleman and Lazzerini.

While all the pieces on A Modern Art are strong on lyrics, the focus is on funk, blues, driving bass and swinging horns. Surprisingly, the horn section is just Mark Nightingale on trombone and Nigel Hitchcock on sax, but together they manage to sound like a miniature big band.

Bassist Laurence Cottle’s complex arrangements blur the boundaries between the singer and the band. He writes Claire’s voice into the horn section in So Twentieth Century and there’s plenty of space for solos. Hitchcock rocks on Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You, Nightingale’s trombone chatters through Martin and Cottle’s Edge Ways (a funny piece about a terminal bore), and Gareth Williams’ fluid piano sets cascading notes against shifting time signatures in Promises.

In a moving tribute to Esbjörn Svensson, Claire’s version of his ballad Love is Real shuns frippery. There are no tricky time signatures or clever arrangements here. Williams gets straight to the simple, bluesy heart of the piece while Claire’s voice starts silky and breathy and expands to gospel proportions.

With A Modern Art, Claire Martin proves that vocalists can be musicians too, even if they don’t sit behind a piano. --Kathryn Shackleton

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
An outstanding album from British jazz vocalist Claire Martin and possibly her best recording yet.The album itself is summed up nicely by the title "Modern Art" and does exactly what it says on the label.Instead of relying on the jazz singers staple diet of standards and ballads,Martin has abandoned that concept in place of a thoroughly contemporary feel.Majority of the songs reflect modern times and modern living and not those romantically tinged Great American songbook standards.This is reflected in songs like "Modern Art","Edgeways" and "Everything..." with their quirky and,at times,humerous lyrics.This is a nicely balanced set that draws on influences from jazz,funk,pop and latin for a very modern feel but no compromise on the quality.
Martin, as always is superb and has put her heart and soul into this project and genuinely believes that jazz singing is a modern art and is to be respected as such.The songs themselves are complemented by some nice solos from the nimble Gareth Williams at the Piano and the fleet fingered Nigel Hitchcock on Alto sax. A mention also for newcomer James Maddren in the drummer's chair who adds some some colour and complexity to the,at times,ordinary task of accompanying a singer.
Outsanding stuff.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a mix of Claire's own tunes, classics from the American songbook, and some eclectic stuff from the likes of Donald Fagen. It works really well as a whole. Great band and production sound on the Linn CD as usual. If you like Jazz, you'll love this. Its also accessible to hitherto non-Jazzers as the song selection comes from a number of genres. Top Notch. 9/10
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Format: Audio CD
It must be me but this just doesn't work. It must be the strangest album that I've heard for sometime. I do have at least four other Claire Martin albums so it's not like I've just heard her for the first time.

The problem for me is with the songs none of which I feel suit her voice and she's written two of them herself !It must be me.

Great band with a great vocalist should equal a great record and the critics say that it is , but ,just not for me. The lyrics are too wordy so Claire has to seemingly talk through most of them rather than sing the results seem disjointed and don't flow, the words follow the music but neither the music or the singing seem to compliment one another. The solos from the band are terrific.

It is issued as a SACD disc but the CD will play on all types of CD player.Perhaps it will grow on me but I doubt it.
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