In the midst of releasing “After Midnight” (the recording), the idea of highlighting the lyrics for the listener was an intriguing and creative way to introduce these songs as poetry to this noisy world of ours.
We talked initially about a single lyric which that led to an entire audiobook and an opportunity for me to curate it with some of my dearest friends + my mom. Because the eleven women featured live all over the globe, this project was made possible only by using zoom technology during Covid.
The audio book is available when you pre-order AFTER MIDNIGHT
Preview: The actress Rachel Weisz reading “Don’t Mean a Thing at All” by Rebecca Martin
About the cast:
THE SPACE IN A SONG TO THINK
Read by Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato is thought of as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation.
IN THE NICK OF TIME (STATE OF THE UNION)
Read by Alice Bierhorst
Alice Bierhorst is a visionary singer and songmaker. Her voice is clear and plaintive, airy and grounded, full of wonder, tenderness and love.
BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME
Read by Terry Martin
Marie Therese Martin is Rebecca Martin’s mother. Her new memoir “The Accidental Witness” will be published in the fall of 2022.
Read by Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson is Waterkeeper Alliance’s Advocacy Coordinator for the Western United States.
Read by Francisca Guedes de Oliveira
Francisca Guedes de Oliveira is an Assistant Professor at Católica Porto Business School of the Portuguese Catholic University.
Read by Judith Enck
Judith Enck is senior fellow and visiting faculty member in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action. She is the President of Beyond Plastics and former EPA Regional Administrator, appointed by President Obama.
DON’T MEAN A THING AT ALL
Read by Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz was born in Westminster, London. She is an actor, director and producer with a career that has spanned many decades.
WILLOW WEEP FOR ME
Read by Sue Collins
Sue Collins is an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sue received a fine arts degree in Theater from UCLA.
ALL DAY LONG SHE WROTE
Read by Rebecca Martin
Rebecca is a singer/songwriter and the Director of Community Partnerships at Riverkeeper.
Read by Helena Hansen
Helena Hansen is an MD, Ph.D. psychiatrist-anthropologist, Professor and Chair of Research Theme in Translational Social Science and Health Equity, as well as Associate Director of the Center for Social Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
Read by Amy Correia
Amy Correia delivers songs with a raw power that’s both vulnerable and fierce. The New York Times calls her “a singular talent.”
After Midnight, due out January 28 2022 (and on January 12, 2022 in Japan), also features bass great and Martin’s longtime collaborator Larry Grenadier, with lush arrangements by the OJM and pianist Guillermo Klein
Singer/songwriter Rebecca Martin has a particular gift for creating intimate, introspective moods, as if her songs are secrets whispered into the listener’s ear, or treasured memories drifting up from the subconscious.
In the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM), Martin, accompanied by her husband and frequent collaborator, bassist Larry Grenadier, has found a perfect match. On their first collaboration with Martin and Grenadier, After Midnight, the Portugal-based ensemble, conducted by Pedro Guedes, proves itself vividly sensitive to the hushed nuances and delicate impressionism of her finely crafted songs. The album, due out January 28, 2022 (in Japan on January 12, 2022) comprises pieces from Martin’s 30-year career alongside aptly chosen standards that spotlight her multi-hued interpretations. The release date is auspicious, landing on OJM’s 25-year anniversary
Nate Chinen wrote in the New York Times that Martin “exudes the plainest sort of poise, almost radical in its utter lack of flash,” saying that her performances “seem less like songs than like articulations of her state of mind.” She began her career in the early 90s as part of the groundbreaking duo Once Blue, with Grammy-winning songwriter Jesse Harris (Norah Jones). Along with a half-dozen acclaimed solo albums, she’s recorded in collaboration with pianist Guillermo Klein and legendary drummer Paul Motian, and as part of the vocal trio Tillery with Becca Stevens and Gretchen Parlato.
It was through listening to Tillery that OJM co-musical director Pedro Guedes was inspired to invite Martin to collaborate. “Those three voices really got my attention,” Guedes recalls. “I knew Rebecca was not only a great singer but a great songwriter as well, and she also has a very special approach to the American Songbook. This combination of factors led me to make the call to ask her to work with us.”
Through the orchestra’s previous collaborations with a wide range of stellar jazz artists – an impressive list that includes Maria Schneider, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Carla Bley, Lee Konitz, Fred Hersch, Joshua Redman and Dee Dee Bridgewater, among many others – Martin recognized a large ensemble nimble enough to maneuver like a small group.
“Their work had the feeling of a small band to me,” Martin says. “It wasn’t grandiose, as if I had to put on a gown and walk out in front of an orchestra. It reminded me of my formative experiences in New York City, where there was deep listening and collaboration.”
“Rebecca’s original music is very intimate,” Guedes says. “It could seem like a challenge to bring out that intimacy within a big band context. But it ended up being really natural.”
A key component of that dynamic is Martin’s long personal and professional history with Larry Grenadier (Brad Mehldau, John Scofield). Over the course of 25 years together, the two have developed a stunningly attuned musical relationship, telepathic and intricate. “It’s a unique music connection,” Grenadier describes. “Because of the time spent on and off the bandstand with Rebecca over the years, we have the ultimate level of communication.”
Though the album After Midnight was recorded in the early weeks of 2020, long before anyone realized what that year had in store, the song reflects the cautious optimism that greets its release. It’s also a suggestion of the tone of the music, which seems to dwell in the twilit, liminal spaces late at night or just before dawn. Originally recorded in 2008 for Martin’s album The Growing Season, the title track After Midnight poetically depicts her brother’s wartime experience in Iraq.
“That song put me in mind of a [soldier] who comes home from a far away country, feeling at odds with being both war torn and thrust back into the comfort of their daily routine before they left and after they return,” says Guedes, who provided the song’s arrangement.
The OJM’s empathic touch can be heard from the album’s outset, as soft, shimmering colors usher in Martin’s “The Space in a Song to Think” – a title that could also serve as a guiding mantra for the album’s lush atmospheres. The Orquestra seems to weave through a path carved by Grenadier’s bass on “In the Nick of Time (State of the Union),” a tune the couple co-wrote for their 2013 collaboration Twain.
Working with the Argentine pianist/composer Guillermo Klein on 2017’s The Upstate Project was “a bucket list collaboration,” according to Martin, and Klein continues the partnership by contributing a pair of arrangements to After Midnight. Beginning simply with Martin singing over gently strummed guitar, Martin’s rueful “Don’t Mean a Thing At All” soon becomes swathed in kaleidoscopic colors; Guedes calls Klein’s bustling, metropolitan approach to Billy Strayhorn’s classic “Lush Life” a masterpiece – the arrangement reflects not the usual last-call bitterness but the heady rush of ceaseless urban living.
Sadly still relevant, the Depression-era “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” is given an achingly slow tempo, as if the narrator is muttering to herself with little hope of receiving the asked for assistance. It’s followed by the tender, swaying “Kentucky Babe,” a vintage lullaby that Martin discovered through singer Maxine Sullivan’s version. Charles Mingus’ “Portrait” feels woozy, as if overwhelmed to the point of dizziness by the subject’s elusive beauty. Accompanied by moaning baritone sax, Martin sings the rarely included opening verse of “Willow Weep for Me” before settling into a lovely rendition of the familiar classic.
“All Day Long She Wrote” is a poetic new Martin song about the creative urge, provided compassionate accompaniment via an arrangement by OJM pianist and co-director Carlos Azevedo. The album closes with a dream-like “Joey,” an early and oft-revisited song co-written by Martin’s Once Blue collaborator Jesse Harris.
The album was recorded and mixed by Mário Barreiros, whose masterful work in the studio Martin praises. “When we started the session, we had some trouble finding the right microphone for my voice with such a large group. During an early break, Mario set out into the city and returned with a ribbon mic borrowed from a friend. It made a world of difference. That effort and care made it clear to me that he was going to be a special engineer who would capture the performances perfectly – and he did!”
After Midnight is a gorgeous example of deep listening and sympathetic collaboration, illuminating profoundly emotional songs in vibrant shades. It’s a lovely reflection of the varied personalities that crafted it as well as the beautiful locale where it was recorded. “I find the city of Matosinhos, Portugal, to have a similar feeling to the orchestra,” Martin muses. “It’s familiar, earthy and approachable. I loved being able to meander from my hotel room to the studio and sit on the corner along the way with elders drinking their cappuccino and discussing their daily routines. It’s a magical place, a city that has maintained its culture and a slowless that is hard to find these days. It’s in part why I always feel so welcome there.”
For more information, contact: Patrice Fehlen, email@example.com
Once Blue is a bit of a long ago dream. Some 25 years ago I came to New York City from the state of Maine, landing in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan with the songwriter Jesse Harris and a young Ben Street, Kurt Rosenwinkelkel and Jim Black. Later, Kenny Wolleson, Steve Cardenas and Bill Dobrow would join us. It was a vibrant time for songwriting, and a fortunate start for us in the city.
What you are about to hear is a 22 year old recording of a live board mix at the height of our music making. We were a very young band on the road, spending much of our time touring the country to open for popular acts that included Lisa Loeb, Shawn Colvin, Squeeze, Emmylou Harris and others. Rolling into the Handlebar in South Carolina on January 19th, 1996 for our own concert was a refreshing and creative respite.
I was happy to find this performance of our group tucked away in a box for decades. Long before social media, music relied on miles and miles of performances in order to be heard. Although Once Blue was an influential band in New York City in the early 90’s, there isn’t anything available that has captured who we were as a live band which was one of our strengths. I’m pleased to be able to share this with you. It is my wish that you will enjoy our collaboration from long ago.
The Upstate Project (Release date: April 14, 2017)
The Upstate Project’s website for more information
The Upstate Project is a landmark collaboration that unites a group of world-class musicians who’ve already distinguished themselves in their individual creative pursuits.
Rebecca Martin is widely recognized as one of her generation’s most talented and versatile vocalists and songwriters, effortlessly bridging the world’s of jazz and songwriting while working alongside some of the music’s most esteemed players. Argentine-born pianist-vocalist-composer-arranger Guillermo Klein is renowned throughout the jazz world for his inventive, eclectic compositional approach and his distinctive harmonic sensibility. Their rhythm section is composed of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, two of jazz’s most in-demand players.
The four participants’ distinctive talents interact in unexpected and inspiring ways on The Upstate Project, which offers exquisite, gently intoxicating melodies, vivid, haunting lyrics, and effortless instrumental interactions.
Martin’s compositions “On A Sunday Morning,” “To Up and Go” and “Later On They’ll Know” (the latter co-written by Ron Sexsmith) embody the lyrical insight and melodic craft for which she’s become known, while Klein’s “Llorando Fuerte (Like Every Other Day),” “Ahi Viene El Tren (Just As In Spring),” “Outside It Rains for Them” and “Hora Libre” (Thrones and Believers)” demonstrate his knack for melodic resonance while merging his Spanish lyrics with Martin’s English ones.
Martin also adds evocative new lyrics for to some notable instrumentals, reinventing and expanding Bill Frisell’s “Throughout [Hold On],” Brad Mehldau’s “Ode [To Make The Most Of Today]” and Kurt Rosenwinkel’s “Cycle 5 [Freedom Run],”), as well as Grenadier’s “State of the Union [In The Nick Of Time].”
The Upstate Project—so named due to the partnership’s origins in northern New York state—began to come together when Martin contacted Klein to explore the possibility of making music together.
“Guillermo is someone that I hold in high esteem,” Martin states. “Working with him was something I had hoped to do at some point in my career. I am always seeking a real challenge in music, and I knew that his point of view would provide that. When I reached out to him, I learned that he had just returned to the States from Argentina and was living in upstate New York, only about 40 minutes away from where I was. Like the old days.
“What the project would be wasn’t clear initially,” says Martin. “But shortly after coming together, Guillermo suggested that it be collaborative, and I loved that idea. It gave me the opportunity to think about lyrics for his songs, which opened up a lot of possibilities as we brought material to the table.”
“We exchanged tunes and then got together to play at my house,” Klein recalls. “The repertoire grew, as I suggested a Kurt Rosenwinkel tune and she suggested the other ones. I spent time transcribing and arranging them for a group, and she found guitar parts and wrote the lyrics and harmonized voices.”
It was only natural that Martin’s husband Grenadier and frequent collaborator Ballard would come on board to complete the quartet.
“Rebecca and I have played music together for 20 years, as long as we’ve known each other,” Grenadier notes. “For me, there is nothing like making music with your partner; the level of empathy and intimacy is unmatched. I’ve known Guillermo for many years and have always been a fan of his arranging and composing, and thought that he and Rebecca shared some of the same musical imperatives in the realm of color and texture. So the idea of blending this all together seemed very intriguing and also very natural.”
“I have known all of these folks for more than two decades, and I love them and their music,” Ballard adds. “This project was simply a continuation of these fruitful relationships.”
The musicians allowed the material to develop in its own time.
“Rebecca, Guillermo and I started getting together and playing the songs,” Grenadier says. “It was like an archeological dig, finding the core of each one and bringing that to the surface. It was a slow process but very organic as they both so beautifully are. We performed a string of dates in New York City as a trio, to continue to flesh out the material and to tighten up the sound.”
“Larry, Guillermo and I had played this music for a year before Jeff arrived,” Martin explains. “Since he lives in Europe now, Jeff could only get to New York in time to record, and after one rehearsal, we went into the studio with Pete Rende, who recorded, helped to produce and steer the ship.”
The Upstate Project’s songs are a genuine collaboration, allowing Martin and Klein to explore different aspects of their talents.
“Guillermo’s music stirs up emotions that are very different from what my own melodies and harmony ever could, and that alone made it possible to explore other worlds,” Martin says. “I built stories from some very unusual perspectives. The lyrics in my own songs tend to be bittersweet. In Guillermo’s music, I found myself exploring darker points of view. It was a liberating experience for that reason, as it’s important to venture outside of your comfort zone whenever you can.”
“For me, all these songs show the idea of melody reigning supreme.” Grenadier asserts. “All the arrangements, sound and solos support the melodies, lifting them up so they shine brighter. The melodies of these songs are so strong, and as a musician, I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I wanted the music to lift up these melodies.”
Having allowed The Upstate Project’s birth cycle to unfold in its own time, Martin and Klein are keeping an open mind about the possibility of future group activity.
“I am just glad this music is recorded.” says Klein, “It feels like a complete cycle.”
“I like to think about music and life in general like swimming in a lake,” she concludes. “You know when walking into the deep, there are suddenly warm spots that appear to come out of nowhere. There is never anything predictable in my creative endeavors or their outcome. I just keep pressing forward knowing that at some point, that mysterious warm spot will appear again where I can hang out for a while—until it gets cold and it’s time to move along again.”
The Upstate Project (Release date: April 14, 2017)
The Upstate Project’s website for more information
Now you can purchase the Tillery recording, a collaborative project by Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens on Band Camp.
4 1/2 Stars in Downbeat Magazine (October, 2016)
Rebecca Martin will be performing this fall as a duo with Bassist Larry Grenadier.
Thursday, August 28th
Soundwaves Concert Series
Thursday, October 30th
Palm Jazz Festival
Saturday, November 1st
Sunday, November 2nd
Enjoy Jazz Festival
“The songs are all hers this time, and nearly every one carries a chilling mule-kick…Those of the more popular singer turn love into a pleasant abstraction. Ms. Martin’s have more depth, darkness and traction; they deal with emotion closer to the complicated way it actually occurs.” – BEN RATLIFF The New York Times
Rebecca Martin’s music and lyrics as sheet music are now available on this site.
Songs include: ‘Don’t Mean a Thing At All’ and ‘Some Other Place, Some Other Time’ from TWAIN and ‘The Space in a Song to Think’, ‘Just a Boy’, ‘A Million Miles’, ‘After Midnight’, ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Make the Days Run Fast’ from THE GROWING SEASON.
“Dear Educators and Students,
On behalf of National Public Radio, I’d like to invite you to see Chris Potter with his quintet on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 at 9PM. He’ll be featured LIVE on our website performing from the historic Village Vanguard in New York City with pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Eric Harland, and guitarist Adam Cruz. The week also marks the CD release of The Sirens (ECM), Potter’s new song cycle without words inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey.
It’s FREE. Anyone, anywhere with an internet connection can tune in. Streaming audio and HD video. No login required. Just go to this address next Wednesday, the webpage for our monthly series. It will go live shortly before 9PM:
The singer and songwriter Rebecca Martin has graciously offered to co-moderate the discussion in our webchat forum during the performance. I’m sure she’ll have many insightful things to say and this particular project – as songs without words – will no doubt spark some interesting reflections. Aside from going to the Vanguard in person, there’s no better way to educate yourself in the tradition. Jazz is meant to be heard live – even virtually – but if you miss it, the archived audio will be available within 24 hours.
Happy listening. Hope to see you online!
Consultant, NPR MusicContributor,
NPR Arts Desk
Visiting Lecturer, Princeton University, Spring 2011, 2012 Ph.D.
Ethnomusicology, Harvard University, 2005″
ABOUT THIS SERIES: One of the world’s preeminent jazz venues, the Village Vanguard has regularly presented jazz’s greatest musicians since 1957. Renowned for its rich history and great acoustics, over 100 commercial albums have been recorded within the triangle-shaped basement room in New York’s Greenwich Village. Live At The Village Vanguard is a collaboration between WBGO and NPR Music presenting live broadcasts from the legendary club, both on air and streaming online. WBGO’s Josh Jackson hosts all the concerts; you can join the discussion in a chat room and watch a live video feed. After each show is over, NPR Music will host the archived recordings of all the concerts at this page.
NPR Chooses Jazz Singer and Songwriter Rebecca Martin’s Upcoming Release TWAIN as “One to Look Out For in 2013”. Record Release and a live recording scheduled at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City in March.
In anticipation of the jazz singer and songwriter Rebecca Martin’s upcoming release on Sunnyside Records, NPR’s Patrick Jarenwattananon includes TWAIN as one of 15 buzzed about jazz/ish albums to look out for in 2013.
“The vocalist Rebecca Martin’s last album was a collection of standards, recorded only with a saxophonist (Bill McHenry) and a bass player, Larry Grenadier. Think of TWAIN as a sequel of sorts: It’s a program of mostly originals, backed only by Grenadier, who is also her husband. As a singer, she has a sense of nuance that fits a spare setting well; as a songwriter, she’s already put out several albums of her own tunes.”
Rebecca Martin will be accompanied by bassist Larry Grenadier at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall room 2 on Thursday, March 28th, two days after the records release. They will perform one set of original compositions and standards. The performance will also be recorded by Pete Rende in preparation for a live recording. Tickets are $15.00. The Rockwood Music Hall (stage 2) is located at 196 Allen Street, NYC 10002. Tickets can be purchased online at the ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL. For more information, call 212/477-4155.
A highly accomplished husband and wife team, Grenadier and Martin earn continual accolades for their live performances. Renowned critic Alain Burnet of Montreal’s La Presse wrote “In the circles of Jazz in New York…[Martin’s] approval rating has risen steadily over recent years, and for good reason. In Montreal, she still remains a secret….I will not keep it to myself: count me in!”