Sunnyside Records will Release Rebecca Martin’s Sixth Solo Album TWAIN on March 26th, 2013


Singer/Songwriter and Jazz vocalist Rebecca Martin’s new album TWAIN features a dozen new original compositions and one classic interpretation, all performed in understated acoustic arrangements based around Martin’s indelible voice and supple guitar work, and the subtly inventive support of her husband and longtime collaborator, acclaimed bassist Larry Grenadier.

Martin reflects “My records over the years have become more quiet and introspective, which probably has to do with the need and appreciation for personal space…it makes sense that my reaction to a world that feels speedy, harsh and loud is to offer music that provokes slowness, emotion, and quiet.”

On such melodically arresting, emotionally vivid new tunes as “To Up and Go,” “Don’t Mean A Thing At All,” “Beyond The Hillside,” and “Some Other Place, Some Other Time,” Martin sings with a quietly commanding intensity that lends immediacy to her lyrical insights.

Meanwhile, her distinctive reading of the Duke Ellington classic “Sophisticated Lady” once again demonstrates the uncanny interpretive skills that she previously revealed on a pair of much-celebrated standards albums.

Writing in the New York Times, critic Nate Chinen shrewdly observed that Martin “exudes the plainest sort of poise, almost radical in its utter lack of flash,” and that though she is “unerringly faithful to the melodies of the songs, both standards and originals,” she makes them seem “less like songs than like articulations of her state of mind.”

Raul D’Gama Rose of All About Jazz wrote “Martin is a composer of considerable talent, approaching the repertoire that she serves up like a master-chef, creating rare and fine epicurean fare,” while Jazz Times’ Christopher Loudon likened Martin’s vocals to “Modgliani portraits,” noting that they “share a sharply honed, less-is-more sensibility that, paradoxically, adds to their depth, their denseness and their haunting aftereffects.”

Martin and Grenadier recorded most of Twain in a small bedroom in the apartment of longtime cohort and pianist Pete Rende, who produced, engineered, and mixed the album. “For the most part, what we did and how we felt on that day became the record,” Martin says. That emotional immediacy comes through on the elegantly spare, eloquently direct recording. Martin muses “This record has been a long time in the making. A lot of living and a lot of energy have gone into the creation of this group of songs.”

A New York City record release performance will be announced shortly.

For more information,  contact Patrice Fehlen at September Gurl Music: 718/768-3859

TWAIN by Rebecca Martin coming in 2013


The new album by Rebecca Martin featuring Larry Grenadier
on the Sunnyside Record Label
Produced by Pete Rende
Available Nationwide on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
To be serviced or for any press inquires contact Patrice Fehlen at September Gurl PR

Rebecca Martin New Recording ‘Twain’ in the Works

Photo by Pat Kepic



Rebecca Martin is heading back into the studio to make a new recording of originals (and a standard) with Larry Grenadier in March/April. A March 2013 release on the Sunnyside Label has been scheduled.

Rebecca Martin Contributes to ‘My Life is Bold’ an Arts for Life Project

Rebecca Martin along with Becca Stevens, Gretchen Parlato, Tillery, Aaron Parks, Kate McGarry, Taylor Eigsti, Harish Raghavan, Larry Grenadier and others contributed to the newly released album “My Life is Bold” an Arts for Life Project.

A release date will be scheduled soon, and all proceeds from the CD will be donated to ‘Arts for Life’.

“Music is an integral part of the vital support services the Arts for Life team offers to young patients and families. Arts for Life Music Fellow Colin Allured describes his job as “growing happy cell” where cancer cells used to be. In 2009, Becca Stevens sang at an AFL fundraiser and she and her father, William Stevens, had the idea to set some of the children’s poetry to music for the event. The response to those two songs was so strong that discussions of a CD began, including Becca’s brother Bill who is a composer and recording studio engineer.

Producer William Stevens says, “We were overwhelmed by how many composers and musicians were willing to give so much time and creative energy to this project. But it didn’t stop there. The CD was made possible by the generosity of patrons, by free time provided by recording studios in North Carolina and New York, with the encouragement and support of the AFL staff and board, and most of all by the children in Arts for Life and their families who showed us the power of art to inspire, to change, and to heal.”

Arts for Life is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people facing serious illnesses. By providing educational art programs, they enrich patients’ lives, nurture their minds and spirits, and encourage positive health care experiences for children and their families. Arts for Life helps children every day in four cities across North Carolina.

Michael’s Mind (Disaster, or Unknown)

 12 Michael’s Mind

Poem by Michael, Age 11.  Music by Rebecca Martin
Performed by:  Rebecca Martin
Child’s Voice: Charlie Grenadier
Acoustic Bass: Larry Grenadier
Background Vocals: Becca Stevens

50% Bionicles. 1% School. 25% Pizzas. 4% Video Games. 20% Whales, dolphins and marine life.

Michael’s mind, what goes on in there? Constant Parties? Nonsense and bionicles.
I have a big mind, and it is split into lots of sections. That what I feel like sometimes.

It’s gonna end up in chaos and headaches.
Sometimes the people partying in my head fight which causes headaches.

Lately they’ve been doing this really good.

Then they settle the agreement and order a pizza which goes down my throat into my stomach.

(Michael had struggled with a brain tumor and has since past).

The New York Times Raves….twice in a week.

The New York Times gives enthusiastic reviews of Rebecca Martin’s new album “When I Was Long Ago”, and  in support of her next live performance in New York City on Thursday, December 16th 2010.  Showtimes are 7:30pm and 9:30pm at the JAZZ STANDARD. For tickets, visit this LINK.‎

“The jazz singer Rebecca Martin can sing slow swing with a supreme sense of centering around the pulse, re-designing melodies and making her voice crinkle at emotional points. And when the drumming goes away completely, she grows stronger…the musicians give her molasses swing and empathy and lots of empty space, and she takes care of the rest.”

Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“On her gorgeously intimate new album ‘When I Was Long Ago’ the singer Rebecca Martin addresses a program of jazz standards as if sifting through treasured momentos”.

Nate Chinen, New York Times

About the Songs…

When I first began to think about making a record of standards, it was clear that searching for the original vocal read would be an important aspect of my effort. As a songwriter and a singer I have found that many of the beloved old classics have been changed a great deal whether intentional or not. Verses, lyrics and arrangements have been deleted or changed and in some cases quite dramatically. Going back to the earliest vocal read to hear what might have been the author’s original intention was a real education. I encourage all musicians to do it.

I thought of these songs as “elders” instead of “standards” to remove the heroic connotation and to allow there to be space for the song to simply be.

Click on this LINK to purchase “When I Was Long Ago” by Rebecca Martin

Follow along by listening on ITUNES

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

The first vocal read was apparently performed  by Morton Downey (known as the “Irish Thrush”) on his popular radio show in 1932. It was quite impossible to find.

As is true with each song that has one, the verse is generally what attracts me to want to sing it. No matter how timeless or beautiful a lyric is as a whole, these short odd measured bits of music and words really pack a punch and sets the tone for the song.  I don’t know why so many musicians chose to remove them.

Bill, Larry and I had done several takes before deciding on one as a final. After listening back, Bill asked to re-take his opening solo.. The live room at the Clubhouse Recording Studio in Rhinebeck has a very comfortable couch, so I stayed behind in the room as he and Larry did a take. From the opening note, I knew it was going to be special and before I knew it, I was up on my feet singing.  You can hear some hesitation with Larry and Bill, as they weren’t certain if I had planned to sing the entire tune. I did, and not only was it the take, it also became the first track on the record.

But Not For Me (1930) G. Gershwin/I. Gershwin

Ginger Rogers introduced this tune during the first performance of Girl Crazy on Oct. 14th, 1930.  But it was Doris Day whose version inspired me the most.  I have found that her vocal reads are generally the clearest and perhaps the truest as far as verses and melodies are concerned. Peggy Lee and June Christie are similar in that way. Very few liberties are taken that stray from the melody. As a songwriter, I appreciate that the most.

Lush Life (1938 ) Billy Strayhorn

Strayhorn began to write this tune in 1933 as a teenager and then went on to fine tune it for many years. It wasn’t until 1948 that he debuted the “Lush Life” lyrics with the singer Kay Davis as part of the difficult to find recording of a November 13th, 1948 Duke Ellington Concert Series at Carnegie Hall.  In it, Strayhorn and Davis perform as a duo which is a fantastic bit of history to have on record.

A later and stellar performance of “Lush Life” was done by Ella Fitzgerald with Oscar Peterson in 1957.  It no doubt inspired me in bringing these lovely words into the forefront.

LISTEN: Billy Strayhorn and Kay Davis, 1948   Lush Life

No Moon At All (1948) R. Evans/D.A. Mann

I fell in love with this tune when I heard a live recording that the drummer Jeff Ballard captured of his group The Brad Mehldau Trio back in 2004-05. It is a magical performance complimented by an absolute perfect tempo. As a gift, he made a copy of the numerous CD’s for Larry – and voila!  The soundtrack of my life for many years.

Searching for the original vocal read of this tune was a challenge. I found very little written about its origins. After a lot of listening, the version sung by Jeri Southern was my favorite. She did a great rendition, and again – the tempo was just killer. This song really lends itself to that, as to my ears, it’s an extremely sensual tune.

Charlie Sings… (2010)

Larry and I have one beautiful son, Charlie James Grenadier.   His timing was impeccable on the day that we were recording, as he arrived at the studio just as we were in the midst of tracking ‘Cheer Up Charlie’. Of course, he loves the song and wanted to sing along with us, but became shy and distracted by everything buzzing around him.  We ended up getting very little on tape.  Still, I love having it.

Cheer Up Charlie (1971) A. Newley/L. Bricusse/W. Scharf

Diana Sowle, who plays Mrs. Bucket in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sings the original vocal read of this tune. The song is as touching as it is clever.  I’m happy to have it in my repertoire.

Low Key Lightly  (Lucky In Love) (1959) D. Ellington/B. Strayhorn.
Lyrics by Rebecca Martin (2010)

In 2009, the drummer Jeff Ballard wrote to me from Spain wondering if I knew of any lyrics written for the tune ‘Low Key Lightly’ by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.  Looking about, I found several instrumental versions but nothing with lyrics.   In “Anatomy of a Murder” the song runs throughout as its theme. I decided to take a stab at it, even though writing in this way is really a challenge for me. The result was a lyric that I felt was inspired and balanced enough to record and include on this album.

Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (1931) H. Barris/T. Koehler/B. Moll

Bing Crosby introduced this tune in 1931.  The verse, which is little known today, was intact as was the delightful arrangement that includes a carefree whistling solo. Sarah Vaughn’s version from the Divine One was my introduction to the tune back in 1988 when I was given it as a gift. The verse was not included here.

Though we tracked this tune with the trio initially, I decided to go about it as a duo. It was a real challenge to make this tune my own, but I am satisfied that we did.

LISTEN: Bing Crosby sings “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams”   WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS

Someone To Watch Over Me (1926)  G. Gershwin/I. Gershwin

This is yet another excellent example as to why it is essential to attempt to go back to hear the earliest vocal read of any old tune.

Blossom Dearie did a version that is my personal favorite.  I think that if you were to ask anyone the tempo of this tune, they’d call it a ballad.  What a surprise to hear Gertrude Lawrence, who performed the first vocal read in 1926 (what lucky gal!). The quirky up-tempo swing version was refreshing for me to hear. Though subtle, I made a decision to do it as a walking ballad, giving the song a slight lift.  I love a ballad, don’t get me wrong. People behave like them after all, remember?

LISTEN: Gertrude Lawrence sings “Someone To Watch Over Me” (Coming Soon)

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (1939) R. Rodgers/L.Hart

This tune was written for the musical “Too Many Girls” and introduced by Richard Kollmar and Marcy Westcott. I wasn’t successful at finding it, though it’s quite easy to get your hands on the film version from 1940 with Lucille Ball (though overdubbed by Trudy Erwin).

I came to it through Paul Motian back in 2006 when we were performing together at the Village Vanguard. He gave me a great list of tunes to learn for our live performances. I found a version that I loved by Peggy Lee off of her 1956 recording ‘Black Coffee’ and I was off and running.

Willow Weep For Me (1932) A. Ronell

Long ago, my father-in-law Albert Grenadier (who was a passionate trumpet player in his day) gave me a list of songs he wished I would sing. One of them was “Willow Weep For Me”. For years I would sing it, and wondered often if it had a verse. Everyone I spoke to was certain it did not. I wasn’t ever able to find a version that had one. Muzzy Marcellino (vocalist AND whistler) introduced the tune back in 1932, which I have not yet been successful at finding. So it was literally the eleventh hour that Larry discovered a lead sheet in the attic that low and behold, shared its verse!. As I recall, it was about two days before our record session, so was a quick study for us both. I am so pleased to include it here, as I don’t think there is one recording out there (that is accessible at least) that has it.

“When I Was Long Ago” to be Released In France on September 28th, 2010

“When I Was Long Ago”  will be released on Naive records  in France on September 28th.

NPR: Your Favorite ‘Great Unknowns’ in Jazz

Check out this piece on Rebecca Martin’s latest release by NPR by following  this LINK.

Rebecca Martin Record Release Concert on Tuesday, August 31st in New York City

Come celebrate the release of Rebecca Martin’s latest recording ‘When I Was Long Ago’ at the Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) on Tuesday, August 31st 2010. She will be accompanied by Larry Grenadier (Bass) and Bill McHenry (Tenor Saxophone).

This special event will be ‘donation only’ at the door to accommodate and to thank fans during these hard economic times.

Records will be available that night for sale, or pre-order yours now by visiting this LINK.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
7:00pm Doors
8:00pm Showtime

The Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)

RECORD RELEASE  “When I Was Long Ago” (Sunnyside Records)
Featuring Rebecca, Larry Grenadier and Bill McHenry

“When I Was Long Ago” Ready To Pre-Order

It’s here!

You can pre-order your copy by following this LINK

The official release date is August 31st. Rebecca and the trio will perform at the Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) that evening (Tuesday, 8/31) at 8:00pm. In these challenging economic times, the group has decided to make their record release a donation only which will allow everyone to attend. CD’s will be available that evening with an opportunity for autographed copies.

We also hear rumors that Gretchen Parlato will be joining Rebecca on stage that evening for a special performance….