Gail Marten
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Gail Marten


Band Jazz Latin


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"Washington Post"


Ehoff has crafted a sound that suits Marten’s voice and savvy instincts. His understated piano phrasing, marked by open spaces and a leisurely swing, fits Marten’s conversational, seen-it-all delivery. Her fascination with Brazilian music gives the songs a tropical, midafternoon languor, even supplying George Gershwin’s “Summertime” with a Rio beat and a breathy stoicism.

…Marten creates a memorable character through her songs — a woman who has seen too much to be naively romantic but who has enjoyed it too much to forgo love’s pleasures.

In Marten, Ehoff has found a partner who gives voice to the well-seasoned textures of his music. After several of her vocals a piano instrumental such as the Bill Evans tribute, “Remembering Bill,” almost seems to sing beneath Ehoff’s touch. - Geoffrey Himes

"International Jazz Newsletter"

It is a distinct pleasure to hear an accomplished vocalist like Gail Marten, with tasteful pianist Clem Ehoff at the helm, and with first class rhythm players, Marty Knepp and Alfonso Rondon, keeping it all on tack! The mix of Ehoff originals and Marten singing gorgeous standards, makes Beyond the Rainbow a treasure trove of sparkling wonders,

Gail Marten is as “now” as a Cosmopolitan in a frosted beaker, and knows about singing…we all know what the intention of the lyricist is, when she delivers her song!

Ehoff, who conceived the arrangements, graces the CD with his authoritative playing – never a slouch about asserting himself… Knepp’s faultless and subtle drumming and Rondon’s melodic bass, lay out a pulse which adores the pieces chosen.
Ehoff’s compositions alone would have been worth an entire CD. - Anthony Agostinelli

"The Network"

The music is rich in color, rhythm and style…it runs the gamut from “on-the-edge-Latino” to “caliente” and quietly percussive! We are treated to collaborative latino visions of music that stir one’s soul, excites our bodies and enhances our sense of rhythm.

Clem Ehoff’s group melds jazz improvisation in a harmonically sophisticated manner driven by a pulsating latin groove…a 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? Clem’s 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 one’s being that says, “all’s right with the world and the music is “to love”…this cookin’ ensemble knows itself. There is an undertow of “latintensity”, 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 – delivered with a voice of sweetness and verve. Gail creates a rhapsodic reverie…an aesthetic which must be pleasing to most tuned-in listeners…(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 is…the 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. - Anthony Agostinelli

"MUSIC MONTHLY - October 2003"

Keeping alive the musical tradition of accompanied female vocal jazz pioneered by such legends as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald is no small task. But apparently it is a task that Gail Marten and the Clem Ehoff Trio are ready and capable of handling. On their new album, Pure Joy, we find the group in top form. The Trio, comprised of Clem Ehoff–piano; Marty Knepp–drums and percussion; and Alfonso Rondon–bass, provide a solid instrumental foundation for Marten’s sultry and emotive vocals. What makes Pure Joy really stand out is the fact that all but one of the compositions were written by members of the group. It would be easy to play it safe and simply put out a collection of traditional jazz standards, but by taking a risk Marten and the Trio have succeeded in making their own statement to the jazz world. Kudos to them! - GREG YOST

"Is It Love? You Betcha It Is!"

They're back! And with more passion, subtlety and warmth. Is it love? You betcha it is! Gail Marten and Clem Ehoff interweave their respective talents – her way with lyrics, and his way with musical sounds – differently, yet complementary.
I had to listen to these musical offerings right through...I could not stop mid-CD. There is an integral connection between each song, and among Marten, Ehoff, Marty Knepp and Alfonso Rondon...after you listen to and embrace this melodious suite of music, you will agree, "this is their best yet."
If you have ever been in love, you will identify with the lyrics to the title song. The uncertainty of love – "Are you mine, really mine, Or someone else's baby?" The passionate emotional liability -- Am I high, Am I low? Should I stay, Should I go? The adventure of it all – Should I care? Do I dare? By the time the song was over, I was in the throes of loving memories.
Each and every lyric, in each and every song, every turn of a lyric, is connected one to the other, and lays out a suite of epos – an epic theme – love! This group of emotional love anthems will not necessarily help you through a love affair, but will make it easier to understand what is going on.
Ehoff's piano, while omnipresent, does not overly dominate, and provides the "ride" for what we are taking in of the organic whole.
As Gail, Clem and the trio swan through each and every aspect of the love experience, they ultimately arrive at the apex – Close your eyes and dream a dream with me/At the end of day/Catch a cloud and float above the earth/Sail the Milky Way. Not satisfied with winging us along with all of this lyrical and musical beauty, we all become immersed in: Skies ablaze with setting sun /Farewell to yesterday/Twilight beckons to the moon/Purple shadows paint the way.

Is It Love? An opus of endearing proportions; a CD for morning, noon and night in Nirvana. - Anthony Agostinelli, The Network

"Gail Marten & The Clem Ehoff Trio"

Bill Donaldson
February 2004
Singer, Gail Marten, teaming up with pianist, Clem Ehoff, appears on two recent CDs, one assumes from their home base in Maryland. Appearing
frequently together, Marten and Ehoff have collaborated to highlight Marten’s covering of standards on Beyond The Rainbow, while Pure Joy alternates Ehoff’s trio with tracks on which Marten joins them to sing her own lyrics to Ehoff’s original compositions.
On Over The Rainbow, Marten leads the group on the majority of the tracks with Ehoff’s arrangements that highlight her sunny disposition, even on tunes with customary undertones on regret or loss, like Jobim’s Once I Loved. More often than not throughout Beyond The Rainbow, Ehoff combines Marten’s straightforward approach to singing standards with his fondness for Latin rhythms, and you get results like I’ll Remember April, built upon Ehoff’s vamp. As a song stylist, Marten is quite effective with a sure sense of pitch and unhurried phrasing, allowing words like “boy” in Nature Boy to escape as an exhalation rather than forcing the lyric upon the listener. Instead of changing the feel of a single tune, Ehoff converts the conventional singing of Nature Boy into a medley ending with a samba version of You Don’t Know what Love Is. The fact that Marten alludes to Over The Rainbow for the title of her CD leads one to fear that her version will be a gushing piano bar version, but not so. She restrains herself, as does the trio, for a more introspective version of the song. Ehoff’s Remembering Bill is the most affecting of the trio’s pieces, as he lets the Evans influence flow through, even as it wasn’t evident on the other tracks.
In contrast to Beyond The Rainbow, Pure Joy consists (almost) entirely of music that Ehoff composed. Marten wrote the lyrics to some of them, and she has the special opportunity to sing her own words on tunes like Heaven On A Tropic Shore and Sunday Rain. ...Marten’s way of delivering dollops of thoughts or images could conform to any number of musical styles, Ehoff’s fondness once again is for tamed Latin moods. A paler version of extroverted Cuban or Brazilian pianists’ techniques utilizing multiple rhythms and harmonic lines all happening at once, Ehoff’s playing concentrates on several familiar Latin vamps within a single performance to the point of repetitiveness. ...Nevertheless, Ehoff plays with evident enthusiasm and clean-cut precision that bassist Rondon and drummer Knepp enliven with just as crisp...movement. When Marten joins in half of the tracks, the picture is complete of fairly commonplace visual images or light-hearted romantic moods described with uncomplicated campfire earnestness... Beyond the Rainbow involves greater concision and depth and, well, more interesting lyrics, and it brings out the most enjoyable qualities of both Ehoff’s trio and of Gail Marten. - Cadence Magazine


The title asks the question, Is It Love?, unrequited, rhetorical, and otherwise. The answer is a resounding YES! This CD reeks with Love. The Love of Creative Musical Ideas, the Love of Beautiful Words and Phrases, the Love that four Very Talented people have in working Together to make the lives of your listeners easier to transverse.
We Feel the Love, We Feel the Love. Of the 10 selections on the CD, what can I say? They are all so far ABOVE the norm that they in some cases, in my opinion, approach ART. The Art of Music, the Art of Love. WoW! You guys paint with all the Colours on the JAZZ PALETTE, and It is Beautiful, It is Love.
The TRIO. Mr. Alfonso Rondon lays down the foundation and floor for you all to walk around on. He knows his Bizzness. Plus, his wonderful musical composition together with your Poetry on Just Before Dawn is nothing short of a Standard. This is one of those songs that can stand the test of time. It Is Love.
Mr. Marty Knepp, Drums/Percussion, coming in and out and around you, plays at times with such deference and skill, that at times his Deft Touch almost Hurts. It must be a great pleasure to perform with Marty and Afonso.
Mr. Clem Ehoff. Quiet, Genius at work! Now some have stated that Clem may be a Curmudgeon. Perhaps Curmudgeons have gotten a Bad Rap in the same way the messenger is blamed for the message. They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor. However, underneath along with awareness, perception and a sly wit, is a Romantic. Clem's playing on the breaks between the first and second chorus of the songs on this CD bespeaks his true sentiments. His Cascading, Elegant, Romantic Jazz Interludes, are Perfect. His compositions on this CD are Flawless.
Gail Marten, Chanteuse, Saloon Singer, Lady, and Friend. You are a Tunesmith/Wordsmith/Jazz Singer of such Talent that You are, as Duke used to say, BeYond Category. Your Intelligence, Maturity and Hipness puts you In Touch. You are Love.
A few notes on some of the songs. Who Would Know/Pure Joy---Reminds me of the Sophisticated, Urbane style of Cole Porter. On Pure Joy, Clem's music and playing, and your words and Ending are Brilliant.
Her Point of View-- You must have written this for my wife Jack. I do know a person with insight and sense of humor wrote this song. The rest of the songs are ALL Wonderful, especially Shades of Blue and Is It Love. Great Songs.
But You know, every Once in a While a Song comes along that has It ALL. Music, Words, Arrangement, Performance and that Special Ambiance or Feeling that sets IT Apart. In your last CD, in my view, that Song was Sunday Rain. In my opinion on this CD, that Special Song is DREAM WITH ME. This is a Love Anthem. A Magic Carpet Ride that takes you somewhere between the Places that you Remember and the ones you Forget. It Touches your Memories and Tugs at your Heart.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. - The Spotlite


Vocalist, lyricist, composer, a multi-label honor few have in their repertoire, usually involving many years of experimentation and in all cases failures periodically. However when the edges are smoothed out and the curtain calls come with frequency the hard roads are such a minuscule price to pay. Further proof is an example of this sit-n-spin, Gail Marten’s new 2005 release from Jazz Palette called Is It Love, a triumph in lyrics and arrangement, all original from mainstream to Latin.
Adorned with accolades as recent as “Is It Love” 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 Marten’s 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. “Dream With Me” 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 café 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!
Karl Stober - September 2005 - JazzTrenzz and Jazz Preview


May 2006
IS IT LOVE? is vocalist Gail Marten and pianist Clem Ehoff’s third item to pass through these pages in the past couple of years. Two items, a set of standard and a set of Ehoff originals with Marten lyrics, were reviewed in February 2004 (p 103). From the funky opening with the title track to the wistful closer “Dream With Me,” Marten makes her points clearly with the words she’s affixed to tunes either by Ehoff or in a few cases herself (and one by bassist Alfonso Rondon). The songs have a steady, mature quality. They are straightforward, yet evocative for the most part.
They clearly draw on Marten’s life experience without lapsing into the mawkishly confessional. Two songs strike me in particular as both worthy performances here and promising vehicles for others. “Who Would Know” 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 song’s sense of emotional approach and withdrawal. Marten provides the music for “Her Point of View,” an arch tribute for feminine thinking set over a groove that’s 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 it’s Marten’s vocals that deliver the songs as surely as if they were standards she’d been singing since she was a girl.
- David Dupont - Cadence Magazine


IS IT LOVE, 2005
PURE JOY, 2003

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Her music career began in the 80's, and Gail has worked primarily with The Clem Ehoff Trio for more than 10 years. The music of this stellar group, which is based in the Baltimore/Washington area, is rich in color, rhythm and style. It runs the gamut from “on the edge Latino” to “caliente” and quietly percussive

Gail Marten and Clem Ehoff have recently been announced WINNERS of several international songwriting competitions, and their CDs, Is It Love and Pure Joy, were both nominated for Best Vocal Jazz album at JPF.

Gail and Clem have just been awarded First Prize in the Jazz Category of the 2005 UK Songwriting Contest again for the title song from their new CD, IS IT LOVE! This is the second time they have won First Prize in the UK Songwriting Contest. They also won in 2003 for their song, HEAVEN ON A TROPIC SHORE, from their CD, Pure Joy.

Their new CD, Is It Love, was released with rave reviews in August 2005, and is comprised of all originals by Ehoff, Rondon and Marten, all of the lyrics written by Marten.

Marten is expected to complete a recording project with guitarist/producer O'Donel Levy later this year.

GAIL MARTEN (nee Divac), vocalist/lyricist/composer
Performing throughout the mid-Atlantic region for more than 20 years, Gail has captivated audiences at music festivals, concert venues, jazz clubs and private social events. She has held long term engagements at many premier area hotels & bistros and has sung with many notables including Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Waters, Billy Colucci, Hank Crawford and Charles Covington. Evocative overtones of Peggy Lee, Julie London and Chris Connor, she has a unique and subliminal quality alll her own.