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Gail Marten: Press/Reviews

GAIL MARTEN & THE CLEM EHOFF TRIO Singer, Gail Marten, teaming up with pianist, Clem Ehoff...have collaborated to highlight Marten’s covering of standards on Beyond The Rainbow...Marten leads the group on the majority of the tracks with Ehoff’s arrangements that highlight her sunny disposition, even on tunes with customary undertones on regret or loss, like Jobim’s "Once I Loved." More often than not throughout Beyond The Rainbow, Ehoff combines Marten’s straightforward approach to singing standards with his fondness for Latin rhythms, and you get results like "I’ll Remember April," built upon Ehoff’s vamp. As a song stylist, Marten is quite effective with a sure sense of pitch and unhurried phrasing, allowing words like “boy” in "Nature Boy" to escape as an exhalation rather than forcing the lyric upon the listener. Instead of changing the feel of a single tune, Ehoff converts the conventional singing of "Nature Boy" into a medley ending with a samba version of "You Don’t Know What Love Is. "The fact that Marten alludes to "Over The Rainbow" for the title of her CD leads one to fear that her version will be a gushing piano bar version, but not so. She restrains herself, as does the trio, for a more introspective version of the song, albeit one that contains few surprises. Ehoff’s "Remembering Bill" is the most affecting of the trio’s pieces, as he lets the Evans influence flow through, even as it wasn’t evident on the other tracks.

Bill Donaldson - Cadence Magazine


Foreign Affairs reveals Marten’s evolution from straight-ahead jazz singing into a style heavily influenced by third-world rhythms and flavors. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the opening selection, a medley of Duke Ellington’s "Caravan" and Dizzy Gillespie’s "A Night in Tunisia." The African allusions in both titles are supported by African motifs in the music, and Marten and her band emphasize these motifs far more than most interpreters. Salvadoran percussionist Ricky Loza and Alfredo Mojica, Jr. set up the rapid-pulse Afro-Cuban rhythms that give the song its equatorial feel. These rhythms force Marten to sing the song differently than if she were backed by the usual swing beat. Early in the song, she sings, big throaty sustained phrases that build steadily but surely against the busy rhythms. Later in the song, she adopts a light, skipping phrasing that works with the percussion. Not coincidentally, the result reminds one of the early, acoustic collaborations between Brazil’s Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. An even better venture in the same style is "Xenobian Love Song," in which the polyrhythms take on a melodic character. Marten responds with a simple but strong Latin-pop vocal that transforms this exotic composition into the recording’s most appealing piece.

Geoff Himes - Washington Post 1987


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