Claire Martin

The Waiting Game

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One thing Claire Martin won't be accused of is having a conventional or unadventurous repertoire. On the superb The Waiting Game, she delivers an engaging version of Betty Carter's "Tight" and insightfully turns everything from Thomas Dolby's "The Key to Your Ferrari" to Joni Mitchell's "Be Cool" into acoustic jazz. "You Hit the Spot" and "Better than Anything" aren't standards, but the soulfulness Martin brings to these neglected classics indicates that they deserve to be. The unique and distinctive improvisor doesn't avoid standards altogether -- her heartfelt interpretation of "Everything Happens to Me" being a fine example -- but thankfully, she's not one to overemphasize them. Consistently, Martin's singing is as strikingly personal as it is expressive.

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