Claire Martin’s Charity Night at the 606

Claire Martin. Photo credit: Kate Eastman

Charity Night in aid of the Edward Starr Trust and Whizz-Kids organized by Claire Martin
(606 Club, 30th September 2012. Brian Blain writes…

Big, big up for Claire Martin and her powers of persuasion and organisation on getting a mind-boggling roster of talent together for a no-fees performance on behalf of two children’s charities-the Edward Starr Trust and Whizz-Kids, providers of wheel chairs for disabled children – at the 606 on the last Sunday in September, and also for Steve Rubie for offering the use of the club.

Both of probably our top female stars, Claire and Liane Carroll had belted to the venue from two Festivals – Liane at Limerick and Claire at Scarborough, with her astonishing pianist and MD Gareth Williams rising to the occasion magnificently after a seven-hour drive. They book-ended a night to remember, with duets between Martin and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett that were both charming and sometimes poignant: it is amazing really that a towering musician like Bennett who has forgotten more about avant-garde composition than most of today’s young Turks will ever know, and who cannot be thought of as a major singer, could hold the packed room spellbound with a childhood favourite, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

Joe Stilgoe was both brilliant and genuinely hip,and if Williams was not such a piano giant, we would probably have been even more impressed by his piano chops than we were.

Opera singer Darren Abrahams seemed to relish getting down in a jazz club and his Funny Valentine, though still ‘straight’ was heartfelt and touching – nice to see someone from such a different area clearly having a good time; an excellent performer as well.

From her opening solo piano feature Take Me Home Liane Carroll took the final set by the scruff of the neck in what was virtually a jam om familiar standards on which the Gareth Williams- Steve Watts – Martin France rhythm section, like Liane herself ,seemed to be just having a good time swinging (watch out Martin – much more of this and you will risk losing some of your serious Euro cred).

And finally; let’s hear it for Claire Martin. She opened the show and warmed up the packed house to perfection with her impeccable time, pitch, phrasing and sharp , witty communication with her audience. No matter what path she follows in her major career moves in a small jazz club setting she is without doubt the real real deal.

Thanks for a wonderful evening: I am sure the charities were thrilled by the response.

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