Deservedly described as ‘England’s most impressive female jazz artist’ (LA Times) Claire Martin has forged a stellar career in the world of jazz since signing her first recording contract in 1991. Claire is the recipient of numerous awards, having won the prestigious British Jazz Award and BBC Jazz Award on seven occasions, including Best Jazz Vocalist in the 2010 British Jazz Awards. Claire Martin has been appointed an O.B.E. in the Queen's Birthday 2011 Honours List for her services to music.
Renowned for her unmistakably unique ‘cool, burnished tone’ (New York Times) and flawless technique, her choice of repertoire embraces material from many sources and influence. Claire Martin brings her outstanding technique to bear on softly spoken ballads, powerfully swinging standards, little known nuggets and funky soul covers, all delivered with a true improviser's ear. Claire encompasses a variety of genres, not always traditionally associated with the jazz canon, with her live sets move effortlessly between Waits, the bossa nova of Jobim, and Costello via Arlen, Kern and Mercer with an ‘awesome dexterity’ (New York Observer).
Claire Martin's live performances span a multitude of musical experiences, whether playing with her established trio of talented of musicians, Gareth Williams (piano), Laurence Cottle (bass) and Ian Thomas (drums), or with guests such as legendary guitarist Jim Mullen, and saxophonists of the ilk of Iain Ballamy and Nigel Hitchcock. Her repertoire is firmly in the jazz tradition and can incorporate the Great American Songbook standards of the 40’s and 50’s by composers such as Gershwin, Porter & Berlin, to modern classics by contemporary artists such as Bacharach, David, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder through to swing. More intimate performances accompanied by her long time collaborators Gareth Williams or Dave Newton on piano, or Jim Mullen on guitar, are fantastic for more laid back events.
In addition to performing with her own ensemble, Claire has a celebrated partnership with legendary British composer, pianist and singer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, with whom she has an acclaimed and long-running duo collaboration, performs with the Laurence Cottle Big Band, and also frequently with her long-time collaborator, vocalist Ian Shaw with whom she appeared at New York’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola as part of Lincoln Centre’s 2007 ‘Women In Jazz Festival’. She has embarked on a new collaboration with the conductor and arranger John Wilson and singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers, celebrating the work of John Lennon with new orchestral arrangement of his compositions. This project, which received a 15 minute standing ovation when it debuted with the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra, was reprised in Dublin in August 2009 with the RTE Orchestra.
She has performed onstage and in the studio with international artists such as Noel Gallagher, Mark Murphy, Curtis Stigers, Jamie Cullum and Kurt Elling, and supported legendary figures including James Brown and Tony Bennett, who lists her as one of his favourite singers.
In 2007 Claire held her debut season at the legendary Oak Room of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. The season was a popular and critical smash, with Tony Bennett attending her first night, and leading critic Will Friedwald proclaiming her ‘a world class performer’. She repeated this success with a return engagement in 2009 with Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
Her recording output has been both prolific and critically acclaimed with 13 releases to date, including the September 2009 release of ‘A Modern Art’. Since 2000 Claire has presented ‘Jazz Line-up’ on BBC3 where she regularly interviews jazz greats who have included Andre Previn, Mike Stern. Pat Metheney, Brad Mehldau, Tania Maria, Joe Locke, Joshua Redman, Diane Reeves and the late Michael Brecker
….‘A class act’ Jazz UK
….‘A voice of pure quality’ The Sunday Times
…."In an era when young jazz singers tend to sound far too much like their idols, there is no mistaking the voice of Claire Martin who combines a cool, burnished tone with the ear of a born musician". The New York Times