ASCAPlus Award 2007-2008 and 2008-2009
Born in Philadelphia, Gail Marten began her singing career in 1980 shortly after moving to Maryland. Performing throughout the mid-Atlantic region, Marten has captivated audiences at music festivals, concert venues, jazz clubs and private social events.
During the 80's and 90's, Gail held long term engagements at many premier area hotels and bistros and has sung with many jazz notables including Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Waters, Reuben Brown, Dick Durham, Arnold Sterling, Mickey Fields, Greg Hatza, Billy Colucci, Bob Diener and Charles Covington at venues that include Baltimore's Pier Six Concert Pavilion and Ethel's Place, New York's West End Club and Rita Dimitri's, Charlie's-Georgetown and The Hilton in Gatwick, England.
In 1983, Marten met world famous saxophonist Benny Waters at an engagement at the Hilton Hotel, and they established an on-going musical association and friendship and occasionally performed concerts together in the mid-Atlantic area until his death in 1997 at the age of 96.
Gail and pianist/composer Clem Ehoff established a musical connection in the late 80s, and three CDs were recorded, BEYOND THE RAINBOW 2001, PURE JOY 2003 and IS IT LOVE 2007 receiving numerous awards.
A new CD, IN LOVE AGAIN, released in October 2009 featuring pianist Larry Willis, bassist Herman Burney and drummer Eric Kennedy, has received high praise from critics and reviewers and is being played on jazz radio stations world-wide.
Marten has been nominated for the 2010 Baker Artist Award and is under consideration in the 2009 Down Beat International Critics Poll.
2010: "Best 20 Vocal CDs" by W. Royal Stokes at Jazzhouse Diaries (In Love Again) and "Best of the 2000's" Women's Radio (Pure Joy)
Winner of several international songwriting competitions for their original compositions and lyrics, Is It Love, Big Girl Blues, We Can Learn To Fly from their CD IS IT LOVE and Heaven On A Tropic Shore, Always There, One of Those Tomorrows and A Lovely Dream from their CD, PURE JOY. Their CDs have been nominated Best Jazz CD by JPF in 2004 (PURE JOY) and again in 2006 (IS IT LOVE). The title track, "Is It Love," was also nominated as Best Vocal Jazz Song.
ASCAPlus, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Billboard Songwriting Contest, Broadjam's Summer Music Challenge, Lyric Awards Global Contest, Song & Film, FinlandÕs Vantaa Jazz Heritage Assn., Film Music Network.
vocals with piano, bass and drums
In Love Again, Is It Love, Pure Joy, Beyond the Rainbow, Here I Go, Foreign Affairs.
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“Never let me go,” Gail Marten sings in the opening track of her album, In Love…Again. But she’s not...“Never let me go,” Gail Marten sings in the opening track of her album, In Love…Again. But she’s not just singing, she’s pleading. And you’re not just listening idly; you’re transfixed
and fascinated by the voice in your ears, a voice of maturity and
depth, smooth and airy, the voice of someone who knows a lot more
than you do.
The songs are ripe with emotion, and not just from Marten herself.
For instance, “Never Let Me Go” and “If He Walked Into My
Life” feature very passionate solos from pianist Larry Willis, who
is able to transfer Marten’s heartache at the thought of losing her
love into his own fingers, proving that he possesses the technical
skill and heart to be a true jazz player.
Marten proves her phenomenal talent in songs penned by others, but
she also shines in “Reinventing Me,” a song that she co-wrote that
offers a kind of tongue-in-cheek perspective of a woman who reinvents
herself for a man, from slimming down and dying her hair to getting
Botox. It’s a fun, upbeat song in which she promises that all the
collagen and hair dye can’t prevent her from being herself, with
lyrics that prove this singer is both wise and clever on top of her
passion and raw talent.
Above all, Gail Marten believes in love, as she sings in
“Alfie.” “Without true love, we just exist,” she croons to the
title character. And even the most skeptical of listeners will want
to believe her, as it is obvious Marten has loved and lost, but still
she is okay. Well, more than okay. She’s strong, and she’s on top,
which resonates on her incredible album. With such a strong voice, if
Gail Marten tells me to believe in love, I will definitely believe in
January 5, 2010 | by Valerie Williams, Skope Magazine
In Love Again
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Gail Marten’s new album, In Love…Again, reprises a number of songs that are mostly, in Gail’s words,...Gail Marten’s new album, In Love…Again, reprises a number of songs that are mostly, in Gail’s words, about “evincing the mystery of the human heart with its inexplicable range of romantic impulse, from fascination to lust to obsession. Throughout the collection, the uncertainty, the falling in and the falling out, the elation and the despair are expressed. In Love…Again opens with the erotic desperation of ‘Never Let Me Go’ and (after an intoxicating ride through songs expressing both joy and despair) closes with ‘Hello, Young Lovers,’ a salute from a retired player in the game and games of romantic love.”
This is a courageous album in its self-exposure, its willingness to express emotional vulnerability. Few of us have not experienced the pain of rejection and loss when a relationship ends, and yet we are generally not eager that the world should witness our suffering nor the struggle to rebuild our egos and regain our sense of hope. All these feelings are expressed in the selections in this album.
Most of the songs are performed as wistful ballads, but a few, such as “I’m Old Fashioned” and the sassy “An Occasional Man,” have a bit of a bounce. I particularly like the wry and witty “Reinventing Me," with words and music by Gail (loosely based on a composition by her long-time musical associate Clem Ehoff). In hopes of winning the object of her affection, a total make-over is contemplated, in which the narrator will “scrutinize and then revise / the contour of my chest, / botox my brow and lift my chin, / fill the rest with collagen.” More seriously, she resolves, “I’ll reinvent myself, / become another me; I will circumvent my natural personality” – but then later in the song she asks if he will recognize “the one and only quintessential me.” From another angle, the ballad “If He Walked into My Life” expresses self-doubt, from the standpoint of a love affair that went wrong. The singer asks herself, was she too demanding, or too neglectful, or too needy, or too doting? In short, the songs raise the existential question provoked by any troubled relationship: Who am I, really? What should I be that I am not?
Musically the album offers a deeply pleasurable listening experience. Larry Willis, Herman Burney, and Eric Kennedy provide perfect accompaniment; Willis's piano work is particularly a joy to hear. But the album is primarily Gail’s: her voice is smooth, mellifluous, and expressive, with a smoky quality that lends poignancy to the lyrics. This album amply demonstrates why Gail, an award-winning songwriter, is so well regarded in the Baltimore community and beyond. In another artist’s hands, these songs might have bordered on the maudlin, but Gail’s tastefulness and sophistication make them the mature expression of a heart willing to love and lose rather than never to love at all. (www.gailmarten.com)
– Liz Fixsen
Is It Love?
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Jazz vocalist, lyricist, composer, a multi-label honor few have in their repertoire... Is It Love, a...Jazz vocalist, lyricist, composer, a multi-label honor few have in their repertoire... Is It Love, a triumph in lyrics and arrangement, all original from mainstream to Latin.
Adorned with accolades as recent as ÒIs It LoveÓ gathering up first in the 2005 UK Songwriting contest, Ms Marten has a unique way about bringing balance to her craft. This can be felt through the way she performs and composes her music. As you filter through the jewel box of Is It Love you experience the eclectic selections and acute sounds that makeup this pleasing production.
Sound manipulation and execution is important to the bondage of moods the music dictates throughout Ms MartenÕs effort. The keyboard tones of Clem Ehoff, her long time sidekick are strong and as if he could read her thoughts; seemingly lighting up the designed moods. Percussion bonds the design and with Marty Knepp, the craft and technique is never compromised. Finally bassist Alfonso Rondon has the classic jazz piece well trained in his hands. Combined the effort and knowledge of all allows for a superb presentation.
Ms. Marten has this latinesque temper piped in throughout this journey of love. Many of the cuts seem to display different attributes and sides to this at time heartless feeling called love. With her exotic sensual tones Ms. Marten can get across what most feel but rarely admit. ÒDream With MeÓ is such an example of pure unfiltered passion-coated lyrics. Her vocals, with eloquence, reach out to that lover inside of all of us. The piano piece just adds that perfect flair of romance to this soft-spoken musical ballad.
For fans of jazz after hours or amid a hidden cafŽ with that other set of eyes adjoining yours, this is the music score. Ms. Marten and Ehoff have produced the quintessential song for those times that one always hopes to dream about. A fine addition to your casual collection and for those special moments where jazz is the only fit!
Is It Love!
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From the funky opening with the title track to the wistful closer ÒDream With Me,Ó Marten makes her ...From the funky opening with the title track to the wistful closer ÒDream With Me,Ó Marten makes her points clearly with the words sheÕs affixed to tunes either by Ehoff or in a few cases herself (one by bassist Alfonso Rondon). The songs have a steady, mature quality. They are straightforward, yet evocative [and] clearly draw on MartenÕs life experiencel. Two songs strike me in particular as both worthy performances here and promising vehicles for others. ÒWho Would KnowÓ sets a lyric about the lure of secretive over the sensual sashay of a jazz waltz. The supple dance rhythm that Ehoff provides captures the songÕs sense of emotional approach and withdrawal. Marten provides the music for ÒHer Point of View,Ó an arch tribute for feminine thinking set over a groove thatÕs two parts funky and one part latin with an occasional fillip of tango. Drummer Marty Knepp and bassist Alfonso Rondon nail the feel firmly without sacrificing its inherent ambiguities. Ehoff is a capable pianist who contributes workmanlike solos to complement the vocals. But on this session itÕs MartenÕs vocals that deliver the songs as surely as if they were standards sheÕd been singing since she was a girl
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The music is rich in color, rhythm and styleÉit runs the gamut from Òon-the-edge-LatinoÓ to Òcalient...The music is rich in color, rhythm and styleÉit runs the gamut from Òon-the-edge-LatinoÓ to ÒcalienteÓ and quietly percussive! We are treated to collaborative latino visions of music that stir oneÕs soul, excites our bodies and enhances our sense of rhythm.
Clem EhoffÕs group melds jazz improvisation in a harmonically sophisticated manner driven by a pulsating latin grooveÉa veritable paella of sound and rhythm. Graphic images of the Caribbean washing on American shores explode on every music staff. Are you ready for all of this excitement? ClemÕs playing conjures up moments of every great pianist, but is not like any previous keyboard player. He plays with his own voice.
This is a great collection of music. Somewhere, somehow, it reaches a place in oneÕs being that says, ÒallÕs right with the world and the music is Òto loveÓÉthis cookinÕ ensemble knows itself. There is an undertow of ÒlatintensityÓ, which draws one down to its core immersing listeners in its pulsating surge. The music generates a quiet intensity which can propel one to undulate in sync with that propulsion.
Gail Marten not only sings lyrics which tell a story, but recites a vivid prose which demonstrates that she has a hip awareness of life Ð delivered with a voice of sweetness and verve. Gail creates a rhapsodic reverieÉan aesthetic which must be pleasing to most tuned-in listenersÉ(who) become aware that they are in the presence of a sensitive vocalist, whose instrumental voice also conveys deep messages about life.
Gail has a particularly sensuous voice. She not only stirs passion, but she generates reflective thought. Delicious, as the melding of passion and intellect often isÉthe girl next door dressed in a black sheath! The rhythmic surge of Alfonso Rondon and Marty Knepp lets the listener know that there is no untamed spirit in this percussive melange. It is scintillating, bubbling and brilliant.
Typical set includes jazz standards (selected from a large repertoire of 200+ songs) and also award-winning originals
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