Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Claire Martin and Ray Gelato are artists at the top of their game; with a wealth of bestselling jazz albums, extensive UK tours and established fan bases, this recording is a tour de force. Following sell out tour dates of their new swing show, the duo took to the studio; the combination of Ray's sax and Claire's voice has created an album which is irresistible. The song selection is a delicious serving of some of the most sumptuous morsels in the Great American Songbook including a classy R&B treatment of Billie Holiday's 'Now Baby Or Never'. The breadth of Claire's stylistic and vocal range is perfectly displayed among these tracks: listen to her boogaloo take on 'A Long Way From St. Louis' or her take on 'More Than You Know' which is a vocal master class. Ray's brilliant original 'A Swingin' Affair' sets the tone for an album that is the perfect antidote to 21st century life. The duo is accompanied by a trio of world-class musicians: pianist David Newton (Stacey Kent), bassist Dave Whitford (Bobby Wellins Quartet) and drummer Sébastian de Krom (Jamie Cullum). Known as The First Lady of British Jazz, Claire Martin has won Best Vocalist at the British Jazz Awards on seven separate occasions. Claire has been a driving force behind the UK jazz scene for over 25 years and in 2011 was appointed an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to music. In addition to her busy recording and touring schedule Claire co-presents BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-up. Since 1994 saxophonist Ray Gelato and his highly successful septet have played to critical acclaim wherever they have appeared, including Ronnie Scott's, Pizza on the Park and The 100 Club. The Ray Gelato Giants opened for Robbie Williams' 'Swing When You're Winning' concert at the Royal Albert Hall, performed at Bryan Adams' birthday, Paul McCartney's wedding and for the Queen.
Personnel: David Newton (piano); Dave Whitford (double bass); Sebastian DeKrom (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Master Chord Studio, London, UK (11/02/2015-11/04/2015).