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Claire Martin: Time & Place

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In late 2012, Claire Martin lost both a dear friend and a superb collaborator with the passing of pianist, vocalist and composer Richard Rodney Bennett. Their Say It Isn’t So was released shortly thereafter, and the ghost of Bennett still lingers over Time & Place. The album opens with Martin, alone with the Montpellier Cello Quartet, navigating Bennett’s stunning arrangement of “My Ship.” Later, with a rhythm section anchored by pianist Gareth Williams, she explores Bennett’s lilting “Early to Bed.” To close, she and Williams tenderly embrace “Goodbye for Now,” Bennett’s musical rendering of his last will and testament. And “Lost for Words,” Joe Stilgoe’s ode to a tongue-tied lover, featuring the songwriter on piano alongside the cellos, evokes Bennett’s elegant score for Murder on the Orient Express.

Across the balance of the album, Martin exhibits her usual brilliance at both choosing intriguing material and interpreting it with intelligence and verve. With the quartet, she transforms David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” into a fiery tango, shapes a menacing “‘Round Midnight” and ideally captures the rain-streaked bleakness at the heart of Joni Mitchell’s “Two Grey Rooms.” Mark Winkler and Eli Brueggemann’s “Catch Me If You Can” is given a delightful, footloose reading and, with its haunting blend of pain and promise, Lennon and McCartney’s “She’s Leaving Home” is impeccably rendered.

Originally Published