On her 40th birthday Audrey Martin decided to sing. As a marriage and family therapist, she had spent years helping other people work through traumas, resolve deep-seated conflicts, and discover their true selves. Along the way she had set aside her adolescent ambition for a life in music, a sublimated dream that resurfaced with her midlife milestone. Martin’s long and winding creative journey resulted in the captivating debut album Living Room (full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes). She celebrates the CD’s release Sunday afternoon at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory, which played an essential role in her musical education. READ FULL FEATURE ARTICLE
Audrey Martin’s Living Room is proof that one should never give up on a dream. Martin, a vocalist inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Abbey Lincoln and Laura Nyro, stepped away from her love of singing for several decades. If this, her debut recording, is an indication, she made the most of the time and has become a confident, mature singer with a voice that can leave you hanging onto every word. Read More
“Audrey Martin’s debut is an intimate portrait of a stellar vocal artist! Martin has a pristine voice to compliment her spot on phrasing and highly emotive delivery. She doesn’t sing a song, she sells it.”
“Laura Nyro’s “I Never Meant to Hurt You” and “Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp” are exquisite in the delicacy of her [Audrey Martin] vocals. Her version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” is also absolutely exquisite. It’s the highlight of an album with a lot of highlights.” Read More
It took Audrey Martin an awfully long time to make the leap into jazz and recording, but it was worth the wait. Living Room is a promising debut, a helpful and welcome dose of therapy for the mind and heart. Read More
I can only suggest that you dive in and dig the cool—and, in this case, surprisingly classy for what I first guessed was a strictly jazz affair but isn’t—waters. Read More
AUDREY MARTIN/Living Room: Since all forms of artist development seems to have gone to hell in a hand basket permanently, women of certain age looking for a little something extra in their lives seem to be jazz vocal’s best, new friend. Growing up in Chicago around jazz with a father who did gigs with the principles of Young Holt Unlimited a good 15 years before the fact, Martin easily and capably brings the jazz to compositions by Leonard Cohen, Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell just as easily as she does to Blossom Dearie, Yip Harburg, John La Touche and other standard bearers. Jazz vocal fans will easily rate this set as essential. Well done.
Joni Mitchell also shows up in Living Room, on the new CD by accomplished Berkeley singer Audrey Martin, part of a mix of contemporary and classic material ranging from Rogers and Hamnmerstein to Leonard Cohen. The title track, an overlooked Abbey Lincoln number, sets the tone with Martin’s graceful, carefully structured vocals and precisely swinging accompaniment by a cast of Bay Area pros.
The deeply confessional songs of folk icon Laura Nyro are a particular touchstone for Martin, most effectively mined in her evocative, impressionistic reading of “Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp.” Other highlights include “My Favorite Things,” buoyed by a beautifully structured soprano sax solo by Mary Fettig that sidesteps all the obvious Coltrane references, and a subtle reading of “Meaning of the Blues.”
Audrey Martin celebrates the release of Living Room with an Oct. 26 performance at the California Jazz Conservatory. —David Becker
“Audrey Martin is just lovely and her pianist Larry Dunlap is outstanding! Great choice of songs and her rhythm section is cooking.”
—Peter Kuller, Radio Adelaide, AUSTRALIA