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 it's core immersing listeners in it's 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 let's the listener know that there is no untamed spirit in this percussive melange. It is scintillating, bubbling and brilliant. CLEM EHOFF and GAIL MARTEN are the WINNERS in the Jazz Category of the UK SONGWRITING COMPETITION for their song HEAVEN ON A TROPIC SHORE from their CD, PURE JOY. GAILMARTEN, Vocalist/Lyricist/Composer A unique quality all her own...perfect tonality and phrasing...caresses a jazz vocal with the authority of authenticity ...universal classic appeal-and she swings ...savvy instincts! Marten creates a memorable character through her songs. She has sung with many notables including Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Waters, Billy Colucci and Charles Covington. CLEM EHOFF, Pianist/Composer/Arranger A native of Baltimore and a jazz musician for 30 years, Clem has played in most of the area's finest hotels and night spots including the Baltimore Playboy Club. He spent ten years in San Francisco where he acquired a fondness for Latin Jazz and studied improvisation with Al Zulaica, pianist for the late Cal Tjader. Clem is an innovative artist and composer of eloquent subtlety and passion. ALFONSO RONDON, Bassist/Composer Born in Colombia, S.A, and equally adept in the music of both North and South America, Alfonso Rondon has performed and recorded with Afro-Cuban music pioneer, Arsenio Rodriguez, Moacir Santos from Brazil and Michael Sembello. Powerfully rhythmic and harmonically astute, Alfonso is in demand both as a jazz artist and Latin American bassist. MARTY KNEPP, Percussionist/Composer Subtle, but never tentative, Marty brings an energetic dimension to his style. His mastery of jazz and ethnic percussion and the unpredictable, melodic quality of his playing contribute a welcome freshness to any genre of music. Malletkat and steel drums are also in Marty's arsenal of rhythm. GLORIOUSLY BEYOND THE RAINBOW 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 this CD a treasure trove of sparkling wonders - enhanced by the wonderful display of nature's colors on the packaging. When should I listen to this...in the brisk of morning, to dispel the sounds of traffic en route to wherever...at afternoon siesta time...in the early evening time...and in the wee small hours...yes, every time of day and night! 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...he has the knack of putting notes, phrases, improvisations, in a freely structured whole - the compositions are so seamless, that one thinks the music has been heard before...but it hasn't, it is unique to the composer, which he plays effortlessly. Did I like the CD? Of course I did... Tony Agostinelli, Editor The Network An International Jazz Newsletter January, 2001 GAIL FORCE IS IN TOWN by Geoffrey Himes Columbia Flier July 19, 2001Columbia resident Gail Marten has been singing in mid-Atlantic jazz clubs for more than 20 years. It's not an easy life, because there's not enough regular work to keep a band together, so a singer is often reinventing the wheel with a new cast of players. Marten, though, has finally stepped off this treadmill and has formed an ongoing partnership with pianist Clem Ehoff, a Baltimore jazz musician for 30 years. The pianist plays all her live gigs (including one in Columbia next week), arranged the nine standards on her new album, 'Beyond the Rainbow' (Shangri-La), and wrote four original tunes for the project. 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.
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