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Take My Heart

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Album Review

A major departure from Claire Martin's previous efforts, Take My Heart marked the first time she recorded an album that had very little to do with jazz. The British singer had never been a jazz snob; she always had a healthy appreciation of rock, pop and R&B. But jazz was her foundation — if she interpreted a Tom Waits or Stevie Wonder song, she did so from a jazz perspective. Take My Heart, however, is essentially a pop album with R&B, folk, rock and jazz references — the only thing on the CD that can honestly be called jazz is a torchy interpretation of the Cahn/Van Heusen classic "Only the Lonely." A gently introspective tone defines this album, and her remakes of Elvis Costello's "Baby Plays Around," the Beatles' "Help" (which she changes from uptempo pop-rock to relaxed pop-folk) and Paul Simon's "Jonah" sound quite personal. Martin co-wrote a few of the songs, including the Joni Mitchell-ish "Pleading Guilty" and "Inner City Girl," a pop/R&B gem that encourages a poor woman to be strong and persevere despite the challenges she faces. Thankfully, Martin the pop singer proved to be every bit as compelling as Martin the jazz singer.


Born: 1967 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Had Claire Martin become a trumpeter instead of a singer, she would have been compared to Miles Davis and Chet Baker rather than Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, or Lee Morgan. Or as an alto saxophonist, she would have had more in common with Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond than Jackie McLean, Phil Woods, or Gene Quill. Greatly influenced by the cool-school singers of the 1950s, the young British diva clearly owes an artistic debt to such greats as Chris Connor, June Christy, and Julie London -- all of...
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Take My Heart, Claire Martin
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