Sensuality doesn’t so much ooze as burst in ecstatic, convulsive spasms from Gabriela Martina’s recording No White Shoes, a bold, cheeky and extremely intelligent programme that pays homage to all things vocal and musical. As it I, the collection is the very best kind of musical pleasure, one in which Martina roams widely across the musical topography of the world, but pausing in the haloed halls of Bebop for some five minutes or so to deliver the most extraordinarily memorable version of ‘A Night in Tunisia’ that I have ever heard since Dizzy Gillespie played his explosive one at the Royal Albert Hall with his United Nations Orchestra.
It is not just sensual pleasure that dominates this recording; it is sheer genius. Gabriela Martina literally cuts to the chase, as she finds open the very epicenter of the soul of a song. She is delicate and forceful, ecstatic and restrained, languorous and in an almighty hurry, and always brilliant. Her often dense chromatic textures suddenly give way to vocalastics that are flutteringly free as she pierces the heart with her devastating fragility and transcendent, glass-like transparency. Martina is an absolute natural, born to musicianship and born to sing. And she proves this time and again on No White Shoes with deliciously expansive melodic fluidity.
Every song is a gleaming gem, cut by her diamantine vocals to be in a class by itself. All she has to do is open her mouth and voice the opening bars as she does, for instance, on ‘Love Me’ and you find yourself holding your breath wondering what it is that so mesmerised you and when it will let you go so that you can breathe again and recover from falling madly in love with her. None of this, however, is show-offy. It is an exacting tribute to a long line of vocalists who have worshipped at the altar of originality – a line to which Gabriela Martina now belongs Tellingly, she ends on a profound note with the tenderly inward ‘Thirsty Flower,’ again given a luscious heartfelt quality, which is beautifully captured by this sensitive recording. A winner.
Track List: Narcissus; On My Way; Love Me; Origin; Us; No White Shoes; Witch Hunt; A Night in Tunisia; Thirsty Flower.
Personnel: Gabriela Martina: voice; Alex Bailey: drums; Kyle Miles: bass; Jiri Nedoma: piano; Jussi Reijonen: guitar; Andrew Halchak: soprano saxophone; Tareq Rantisi: percussion.
Release date: October 2015
Running time: 57:03
Buy album on: amazon