Album Review: The Upstate Project | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Rebecca Martin & Guillermo Klein
The Upstate Project
(2017, Sunnyside)

Before Norah Jones rode her pop-jazz blend to the top of the charts, there was Rebecca Martin, who, with Jones’s songwriting partner, Jesse Harris, created the musical template fusing singer-songwriter folk with hard-core jazz. If commercial success has evaded Martin, critical acclaim has not, as she has consistently garnered high marks for her club gigs and half-dozen recordings.


On her newest, a duo effort with keyboardist/vocalist Guillermo Klein featuring jazz stalwarts Larry Grenadier (aka Mr. Rebecca Martin) on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, Martin—who in her spare time works as a citizen activist in her adopted hometown of Kingston—brings this blend to a whole other place, with most of the compositions prewritten as instrumental numbers to which she has added poetic lyrics. The result sounds wholly organic, a fully formed blend of sinuous melodies and her soft, alluring vocals with musicians who aren’t mere accompanists but equal partners in this stellar effort.

About The Author

Seth Rogovoy

Seth Rogovoy is the author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet, The Essential Klezmer, and the forthcoming Within You Without You: Listening to George Harrison. Seth’s writing on cultural topics is also featured in his Substack newsletter, Everything Is Broken.zx
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