Blue Hydrangea Records 2014
Review by David Bowling
People deal with a mid-life crisis in a number of ways. Audrey Martin was working as a trained clinical psychologist but completely changed her life’s direction when she enrolled at the newly created School of Jazz in Berkeley in 1997. Now 17 years later she has just released her debut album Living Room.
Martin is a pure jazz singer with a crystal clear voice that accentuates each note. She has chosen an eclectic group of songs for her first release, ranging from the Great American Songbook to covers of Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro. She is backed by keyboardist Larry Dunlap, bassist John Shifflett, drummer Jason Lewis, and as needed sax/flute player Mary Fettig and guitarist Jeff Buenz.
She wisely changes the tempos and moods throughout the album. She gives a laid back performance of “Lazy Afternoon” and somewhat unique take on “Wild As The Wind,” as she presents it as a swinging piece. The old Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein chestnut, “My Favorite Things” is a little edgier than the norm, while she croons her way through “The Touch Of Your Lips.”
Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” undergoes a subtle transformation into a light jazz piece. The album closes with a tribute to one of her early musical heroes as she gives a subtle interpretation of Laura Nyro’s “Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp.”
Audrey Martin’s has created a solid album of jazz covers and completed a life long journey of the heart.