IS IT LOVE - First Prize Winner in the 2005 UK Songwriting Contest, Jazz Category.
IS IT LOVE
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 cafe 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 is an international freelance columnist and broadcaster.
Karl Stober - Jazz Trenzz, JazzReview (Oct 2, 2005)
IS TI LOVE?
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, Knepp and Alfonso Rondon. I know, I know, you're thinking, "you're over the top!" But 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. And before you can catch your breath, you're plunged into "Who Would Know?" Who would know/Who would care/Love and war/All is fair." Give me a break, I'm outta breath and thinking room!
"Just Before Dawn," reminds us of beauty of "l'alba," the dawn of which poets write. "Moon will soon surrender/To the early morning splendor/I've tossed and turned another sleepless night/ Wondering what went wrong and who was right." Not over the top, but right on!
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. A keyboard musical lover in love.
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 Newsletter