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Claire Martin

Born in Wimbledon in 1967 Claire Martin attended The Doris Holford Stage School until she was fifteen. Singing was her strongest passion with dance coming a close second. Claire studied singing with Verona Chard in London and Marilyn Johnson in New York before embarking on the QE2 and Cunard Princess to cut her teeth at sea singing in the Theatre Bar for almost two years.

Returning to dry land aged 21, Claire quickly formed her first quartet which featured guitar virtuoso Jim Mullen and pianist Jon Gee. In 1991 Claire sang at the Pizza on the Park in Knightsbridge in front of Linn Records producer Phil Hobbs, who instantly signed her to this prestigious label.

Acclaimed as the outstanding new British voice of the decade, Claire Martin achieved instant recognition with her 1992 debut album "The Waiting Game", which was chosen as one of the Times records of the year. Sir Richard Rodney Bennett concluded his liner notes for the album with the unabashed exclamation "This record knocks me out". Tony Bennet was equally enthusiastic when Claire opened for him at the Glasgow Jazz festival the same year. Early into 1994 Claire received the Rising Star award at the British Jazz awards.

By 1995 Claire had made three more critically acclaimed albums for Linn Records and made her American debut with four sell-out shows in Washington DC, receiving rave reviews from the Washington Post and The Village Voice.

Later that year Claire won the Best Vocalist Award at the British Jazz Awards and took her group to Ronnie Scott's Club to make her first live album titled "Offbeat" which featured guest appearances by Martin Taylor, Mark Nightingale and Anthony Kerr. New York Times contributor James Gavin wrote, "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".

Following the enthusiasm for her appearances in the United States, Claire recorded "Make This City Ours", her fifth album in New York and featured an international line-up of musicians including Peter Washington and Gregory Hutchinson. This album reached number 1 in the Gavin Charts for two weeks, the only European singer ever to have achieved this.

In March 1996 Claire appeared as guest vocalist with Martin Taylor and sang alongside legendary voilinist Stephane Grappelli who said "Claire Martin is a wonderful artist, she swings and has such warmth to her voice". Claire won the British Jazz Awards as Best Vocalist in 1997.

In 1998, Claire's next record produced by guitar ace Paul Stacey featured Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame playing on a beautiful rendition of the Beatles classic "Help". Later that year Claire was fortunate enough to meet Paul McCartney and deliver her re-working by hand! This album entitled "Take My Heart" also featured Jason Rebello and Mornington Lockett alongside a worldclass line up of top British jazz musicians.

The second collaboration with Paul Stacey resulted in "Perfect Alibi" her seventh album for Linn Records and released in 2000. One of the many highlights from this recording is the duet with cult singer/songwriter John Martyn who has become a close friend.

Claire won the Best Vocalist category in the 2000 British Jazz Awards, for the third time. Also in 2000 Claire started presenting the jazz magazine show "Jazz Line Up" for BBC Radio 3. Among the musician's she has met and interviewed are; Michael Brecker, Tania Maria, Andre Previn, Joe Locke, Hugh Masekela, Mike Stern and Pat Martino.

In 2001 Claire released "Every Now and Then", The Very Best of Claire Martin - with personally chosen tracks from all the previous seven recordings. Touring took her and her band to the Far East, Europe and Australia, with festivals in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Canada.

The Claire Martin Quartet were the first ever jazz group to perform in Vietnam as part of a festival organized by the British Council. Early into 2002 Claire won her fourth award as Best Vocalist at the British Jazz Awards.

Her latest release "Too Darn Hot" was regarded by John Fordham as "her best and most ambitious disc" in the Guardian. Produced by Richard Cottle "Too Darn Hot" features the cream of British talent and features Nigel Hitchcock, Gareth Williams, Laurence Cottle, Clark Tracey and Ian Thomas. Special guest artists include pianist Geoffrey Keezer and two string arrangements by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett played by the Tapestry String Quartet. The Observer named it c.d of the week.

In July 2003 the third BBC Jazz Awards named Claire Vocalist of the year.

"Talented and hip beyond her years.... the most exciting jazz star to soar to my attention in a decade" Rex Reed - The New York Observer.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Claire Martin
  • Subtitle: Jazz Vocalist
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