Rebecca Martin Honors Her “Elders” on Latest Release “When I Was Long Ago”


New Collection of Standards Shines a Light on Original Arrangements, Lost Verses

When acclaimed singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin set out to make an album of standards, she resolved to seek out each song’s original vocal read, which proved to be quite a challenge, but one well worth taking on. “As a songwriter and singer, I found that many of the beloved old classics have been changed a great deal…Verses, lyrics and arrangements have been deleted or changed, in some cases quite dramatically.” She reflects “Going back to the earliest vocal read to hear what might have been the author’s original intention was a real education,” and she urges other musicians to “think of these songs as ‘elders’ instead of ‘standards’ to remove the heroic connotation and allow there to be space for the songs to simply be.”

The resulting collection of eleven songs, When I Was Long Ago, is  “most extraordinary, absolutely delightful and thoroughly unforgettable” (All About Jazz), and a perfect showcase for Martin’s “warm, unguarded voice” (New York Times).  Martin says, “It’s an honor to sing a song that spans 75-plus years. I think of this as an ancestral project. Working with this intention brought new meaning to these old songs.”

Spare, haunting accompaniment is provided by bassist Larry Grenadier (the Brad Mehldau Trio, Pat Metheny) and saxophonist Bill McHenry (Guillermo Klein, Paul Motian) on classics such as “Lush Life,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Willow Weep for Me” and “But Not For Me” as well as some lesser-known gems such as “Cheer Up Charlie,” “No Moon at All” and “Kentucky Babe.”

For an in-depth discussion of the songs on When I Was Long Ago, please go to http://bit.ly/dyQSgO.

Martin’s journey began in Rumford Point, Maine. In the early 1990s, she moved to New York to pursue a career in music. She and Jesse Harris formed the group Once Blue (EMI Records). Though no one knew it at the time, the signing turned out to be quite prescient, as the band also included guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, bassist Ben Street and drummer Kenny Wollesen, all of whom soon became among the most sought-after and highly-regarded musicians in the jazz world. After Once Blue disbanded, Martin embarked on a solo career that has yielded six critically lauded solo albums of original compositions and standards, and a collaboration with Paul Motian that inspired the The Guardian to proclaim that Martin “may even upstage Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux.

The release of When I Was Long Ago places her squarely in the company of the great interpreters of song she reveres. As the Portland Press Herald summed it up, “There’s so much more on this disc of classic material, which may soon be thought of as a classic itself. It is that good.”

When I Was Long Ago (Sunnyside, August 31, 2010)

For All We Know (1934) J. Fred Coots/Sam Lewis

But Not For Me (1930) George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin

Lush Life (1938) Billy Strayhorn

No Moon At All (1948) Redd Evans/David Mann

Cheer Up Charlie (1971) Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse/Walter Scharf

Low Key Lightly (Lucky In Love) (1959) Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (1931) Harry Barris/Ted Koehler/Billy Moll

Someone to Watch Over Me (1926) George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (1939) Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart

Willow Weep For Me (1932) Ann Ronell

For more information about Rebecca Martin, please contact Regina Joskow at Missing Piece Group (862.234.0801) regina@missingpiecegroup.com or Bret Sjerven at Sunnyside Records (646-519-3560) bret@sunnysiderecords.com