It’s easy to be wary when a musician is described with a long string of superlatives. But one listen to jazz and blues singer-songwriter Barbara Martin and you will believe what the critics say about her. Witty. Intelligent. Sultry. Down-to-earth. Insightful. Ironic. Polished. Slice-of-life. Sensitive. Provocative. The list goes on. Barbara Martin is the real deal; a true renaissance woman in genres prone to stereotypes and pigeon-holes. Barbara’s soulful voice and skillful songwriting reveal the essence of her life experience, her creativity and her joie de vivre. And in that very honest and open place, Barbara Martin doesn’t just entertain us; she helps us remember how to dream.
Over a career spanning more than twenty years, Barbara has covered a lot of musical ground, unafraid to explore new territory at each turn. In the early years, she performed country, folk, New-Wave rock and toured the singer-songwriter circuit. But when Barbara began listening to Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Billie Holiday and working with blues and jazz guitarist Mac Walter and bassist Steve Wolf in the early 90’s, she realized blues and jazz were her musical raison d'être. Among her plentiful talents, she had found her most compelling and comfortable niche.
Today Barbara is best known not only for being an accomplished vocal interpreter of the great jazz and blues standards; but also for her ability to stretch the boundaries of the female jazz and blues singer image. She writes award-winning songs. She plays guitar. She collaborates with other acclaimed artists to produce engaging live shows and music education programs. She’s as comfortable in a New York cabaret show or a major venue like The Kennedy Center as she is in an intimate house concert or a bohemian cafe. Barbara’s expertise and talent place her squarely in the company of the legends she teaches about in her educational series “Women of Blues and Jazz,” but it’s her ability to transition smoothly from chanteuse to girl-next-door to perceptive poet that makes her so delightfully her own woman. Barbara Martin’s comfort with all these sides of herself and the way she articulates it in song shows us that being true to ourselves is the fulfillment of our oft life-diverted dreams.
Picked as a recent release by worthy jazz singers by Alexander Gelfand, Jazziz Magazine
Her voice has become lilting and uplifting, giving off an aura of happiness, similar in register and tone to that of Ella Fitzgerald. It’s a joy to hear. The ten-song setlist is all originals, filled with a lyrical sophistication and playfulness that continues to unfold with each listening.
Jim Newsome, CD Review